ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Democratic Congressional delegation from Maryland and several Maryland senators are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to reverse his decision to end the extra federal unemployment benefits by July 3.
Hogan made the announcement Tuesday, saying it would give workers a reason to go back to work. He also says Maryland will reinstate the work-search requirement as a caveat to receiving benefits.
Ending the additional federal benefit would subtract $300 per week that unemployment claimants have been getting for months.
It's in line with 24 other states, whose Republican governors have ended or announced the end of the same additional unemployment benefit.
In a letter to Hogan signed by Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson (D) and Senate Chair Katherine Klausmeier (D), the lawmakers wrote, "We know you understand the impossible position your decision puts tens of thousands of Marylanders in and the unimaginable choices it will force them to make."
Maryland's nine Democratic senators and representatives in Congress said in a statement, "We urge the governor to reconsider this decision, which will cost our state money in the long run – and wastes federal resources we fought hard to secure. Marylanders are anxious to get back to work, but this pandemic is not over and many unemployed Marylanders are still suffering."
In his statement Tuesday Hogan said, "While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply. And we have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe worker shortages. After 12 consecutive months of job growth, we look forward to getting more Marylanders back to work."
Conservatives and many small business owners have blamed the extra unemployment benefits for a shortage of workers, but the impact of the additional benefits is difficult to quantify.
According to a recent survey of top economists by the University of Chicago, the experts are split on whether the benefits serve as a disincentive to work.
Some said the enhanced benefits likely play a role, but that there are other factors too, like parents unable to return to work because their children aren't in school full time or the large percentage of Americans, nearly half, who remain unvaccinated and fear returning to work.
The governor's office did not respond to FOX 5 when asked about the calls for Hogan to reverse his decision.