Center for American Progress

Republicans wrapped the safety net in red tape. Now we’re all suffering.
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Republicans wrapped the safety net in red tape. Now we’re all suffering.

As thousands of newly unemployed Floridians face delayed or impeded access to benefits, author Rebecca Vallas explains that this crisis is the result of intentionally onerous requirements and difficult to navigate bureaucracy around safety net programs.

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As jobless claims skyrocket to new heights nationally amid the coronavirus pandemic, Florida officials are reporting that thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of newly unemployed Floridians have been unable to access desperately needed jobless benefits because of a broken state claims system. And that was the point, according to an adviser to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who explained that former governor Rick Scott (R), now a U.S. senator, deliberately designed the online system to “make it harder for people to get and keep benefits so the unemployment numbers were low to give the governor something to brag about.”

But while Florida leaders appear to have taken extraordinary measures to block workers from accessing jobless benefits, in many ways, the result is the logical conclusion of a nefarious playbook that GOP lawmakers have used for years to make accessing bedrock safety net programs as difficult as possible.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Washington Post. Click here to view the full article.

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Rebecca Vallas

Senior Fellow