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‘I hope he sleeps better because of his decision’: Thompson calls out Reeves as COVID-19 unemployment ends

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 2:01 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Two days after COVID-19 unemployment ran out for Mississippians, Rep. Bennie Thompson had harsh words for Gov. Tate Reeves.

“Mississippians saw their pandemic unemployment benefits shut off three months early because of the Tate Reeves decision,” he said on social media. “It’s unfortunate for those individuals adversely affected by the pandemic.

“I hope he sleeps better because of his decision.”

In May, Reeves announced that the Magnolia State would opt out of additional unemployment benefits, following other red states that had done so.

At the time, the governor took to Twitter, saying the “purpose of unemployment benefits is to temporarily assist Mississippians who are unemployed through no fault of their own. After many conversations over the last several weeks with Mississippi small business owners and their employees, it has become clear that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and other like programs passed by the Congress may have been necessary in May of last year but are no longer so in May of this year.”

PUA provided assistance to about 70,000 people statewide. The program provided individuals affected by COVID-19 with an additional $300 a week in unemployment compensation. The decision to cut the program means that residents will now only be eligible for the $235 standard unemployment offered by the state.

The program was supposed to last until September. However, numerous states have decided to cut the program short. According to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, 24 states have made plans to end the provisions before the program statutorily runs out Sept. 4.

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