Gov. Kelly says ‘final decision’ has not been made to keep federal unemployment benefits

Capitol Bureau

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions about the COVID-19 pandemic during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. The Republican-controlled Legislature is considering changes in the state’s emergency laws and limits on the governor’s power during pandemics and other emergencies. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly said the state has not made a “final decision” on whether it will keep federal unemployment benefits on Thursday.

“We have not really made a final decision on that issue, it is something that we are exploring,” Kelly said.

This comes as the extensions of federal programs have sparked an ongoing debate, with some GOP-led states deciding to end the programs early to address labor shortages.

The governor announced Wednesday that the federal unemployment payments will continue in the state, receiving pushback from Republican U.S. Congressman for Kansas Roger Marshall.

“If the governor would go out and talk to businesses, talk to Kansans, she would quickly understand that the number one impediment in getting this economy growing is getting people back to work,” Marshall said in an interview Kansas’ Capitol Bureau.

Marshall’s advocated to cut the extra $300 federal unemployment extensions included in the federal government’s coronavirus relief package, hoping to encourage people to return to work.

On Wednesday, the governor said that the state is monitoring the situation closely. Kelly clarified that there is information that the state needs to look into before making a definite move.

“I understand that there is some concern on the part of businesses that perhaps it is the unemployment benefits that are creating the lack of applicants for jobs, particularly lower paying jobs. There’s conflicting anecdotal data right now, and I need to just really study the issue and figure out whether that’s the cause, or if there are other things that we need to do to ensure that our employers have access to a workforce.”

However, Kelly said that she is not one to cower to political pressure.

“I have always researched the issues, figured out what to do, and then acted accordingly, regardless of the political pressure that I get on issues,” Kelly said.

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