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Senate Democratic Leader opposes plan to reject federal unemployment funding

Today Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, released the following statement after Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Oklahoma will prematurely end the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program in Oklahoma.

“I am disappointed Governor Stitt chose to deny federal money to Oklahomans still struggling to find employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Floyd said. “We are rejecting $302 million specifically allocated to Oklahoma that should be used to further stimulate our economy back to pre-pandemic levels. According to Moody’s Analytics, every dollar of unemployment benefits produces an overall return of $1.61 back into our economy. 

“The governor’s new ‘back to work’ plan is proposed under the false assumption Oklahomans do not wish to return to work. Oklahoma’s current unemployment rate of 4.2% is actually lower than the average unemployment rate for the month of May from 2011-2019. The reality is that the pandemic is not yet over. For Oklahomans to get back to work, they need the assurance employers will make accommodations to keep them safe at work, their children have safe and quality childcare and their families have accessible healthcare in the event they contract COVID-19. Ending Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ahead of the September expiration is shortsighted.”