Republican senators blast federal unemployment perks amid ongoing labor shortage

Sen. Ernst: 'Paying people not to work is not helpful'

EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and several other prominent Republican senators will take to the Senate floor to blast federal unemployment benefits as the nation faces a labor shortage.

Ernst will be torching federal unemployment perks on the Senate floor Wednesday with a handful of her prominent GOP colleagues. She will say the Democrats are using unemployment benefits to "dis-incentivize work," according to remarks exclusively obtained by Fox News.

In her prepared speech, the Iowa Republican dubs the last year as "an era where we seem to live through one unprecedented occurrence after another" and calls the disappointing recent jobs report "the latest extraordinary event as millions of Americans remain unemployed despite an abundance of jobs that need to be filled."

"Part of the problem is that the government pays folks more to stay home than to go to work," the remarks say. 


"Paying people not to work is not helpful," Ernst’s remarks also say. "It is delaying us from returning to normal pre-pandemic life."

Ernst also will advocate for her bill, the Get Americans Back to Work Act, which aims to decrease "the extra federal unemployment benefits to $150 per week" by the end of May before fully nixing them at the end of June this year.

Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., James Lankford, R-Okla., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Roger Wicker, R-Miss., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., will join Ernst on the floor during her afternoon remarks.

The U.S. is currently facing a major labor shortage as more people are choosing to get paid by government unemployment benefits rather than find paying jobs.


The nation’s latest jobs report heavily missed Wall Street expectations, with only 266,000 jobs added to the economy last month – an abysmal number that also missed the mark set by the White House.

The White House suggested on Tuesday that some employers may increase what they’re paying for jobs in order to attract more prospective employees, amid reports of labor shortages nationwide.

Fox News' Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.