Lindsey Graham claims his relatives aren’t working because unemployment payments are so good

South Carolina senator ridiculed on Twitter for ‘throwing family under the bus’

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 08 June 2021 19:59
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<p>Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday</p>

Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday

Lindsey Graham is facing ridicule for appearing to admit that his own family members were avoiding work because of unemployment benefits.

The GOP senator told a budget hearing on Tuesday that expanded unemployment benefits were creating a crisis for businesses trying to fill vacancies after Covid, and that Americans were avoided taking on work.

“There's a lot of jobs out there that are unfilled and will never be filled until you change the benefit structure,” he told Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). “Does that logic make sense to you, given where we're at in our economy?”

As The Hill reported, Ms Young told him she understood, “but I've also not met Americans who would prefer not to work”.

The South Carolina senator went on to say that some of his own family were avoiding work because of expanded unemployment, in an apparent bid to prove his earlier point.

“I got a lot of people in my family that ain’t working because they’re getting – I'll show you some of my family,” Mr Graham told Ms Young.

Although it was not clear if Mr Graham was being truthful, the senator faced ridicule on Twitter for appearing to testify against his own family,

“Touche' Lindsey Graham. Nice new lie-angle about unemployment benefits,” a user wrote. “He never has to divulge who these phantom ‘family members’ are and can continue to lie about it. Nicely played.”

“I don't know anyone, including family members, that aren't working because of unemployment benefits,” another Twitter user added. “[But] I DO know people who don't work because the don't have affordable childcare”.

The remarks follow the extension of $300 weekly unemployment benefits for Americans until August, as part of the Biden administration’s response to Covid.

Although a number of Republicans argue that the extended benefits are a barrier for individuals returning to work, with a record high of 9.3 million vacancies in the final week of April, according to labour department figures on Tuesday.

Employment figures for May also showed that the US unemployment rate fell by 5.8 per cent, thanks to the addition of 559,000 jobs, according to The Hill.

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