Even with a majority of Iowans opposed, Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House passed a bill this week to permanently cut 10-weeks of unemployment benefits for struggling Iowans. According to a recent Iowa Poll, most Iowans are opposed to the cuts.
Last spring, Governor Reynolds abruptly ended federal unemployment benefits for Iowans who were laid off or forced to stay home to care for family members or children during the pandemic. While the Governor claimed that unemployment benefits kept unemployed Iowans from looking for jobs, it did not make a difference or fix Iowa’s workforce shortage.
An additional provision within the bill mandates that folks on unemployment accept a job, even if the offered wage is significantly less than the wage they were making and will not cover all their expenses.
During debate, majority party lawmakers said the bill will solve Iowa’s workforce shortage. According to research previous cuts to unemployment programs pushed few people back to work and fueled a cut in household spending.
Many Iowans have expressed concerns that the bill will only further hurt Iowans who have been laid off, keep wages low, and make Iowa an unwelcoming state.