Several members of Maryland’s congressional delegation – all Democrats – are raising questions with Republican Governor Larry Hogan about his decision to end the state’s participation in four federal pandemic unemployment assistance programs.
The group, which includes Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, said unemployment benefits are helping more than 300,000 Marylanders make ends meet, and that unemployment is still above pre-pandemic levels. They also said Hogan’s decision would ‘strip critical aid from a majority of recipients a full two months earlier than necessary.’
Hogan plans to opt out of several programs next month, including one that provided an additional $300 a week in benefits, and will reinstate the requirement that recipients of unemployment benefits demonstrate that they are actively looking for work.
The following message Wednesday was attributed to U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin and David Trone (all D-Md.):
“Unemployment benefits are helping more than 300,000 Marylanders make ends meet as our unemployment rate remains above its pre-pandemic level. Governor Hogan’s abrupt decision to cut off federal assistance on July 3 will strip critical aid from a majority of recipients a full two months earlier than necessary, making it harder for thousands of Marylanders to put food on the table and keep roofs over their heads as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re already hearing from constituents whose family finances will be thrown into crisis by this action. Rather than taking a measured, phased-in approach, similar to what President Biden supported earlier this month, the governor unnecessarily bowed to partisan pressure and ignored the needs of struggling workers and families. 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.”