The state of Maryland will end federal unemployment benefits next month, said Gov. Larry Hogan, and will also require people getting unemployment checks must prove that they are looking for jobs, according to The Washington Post.
Hogan has cited the widespread availability of vaccines and the tight labor market in his decision, which would eventually affect about 15,000 people.
Hogan continued to say that the benefits, which add $300 a week, provided important temporary relief during the coronavirus pandemic but are no longer necessary.
The American Rescue Plan provides funding for the benefits through Sept. 6, with Democratic leaders stressing the importance of fully reopening schools and child-care centers — and more people being vaccinated — before many adults can resume full-time work. But at least 24 other states — which also have Republican governors — are similarly taking steps to end the funding early.
Hogan has said in a statement, “We have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe working shortages. We look forward to getting more Marylanders back to work.”
Hogan’s decision was sharply criticized by Democratic state lawmakers. Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) said in a statement that the “rash and rushed decision will hurt Marylanders who have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, having lost jobs through no fault of their own.”