Utah Gov. Cox: Jobs Report Shows Extra Benefits a ‘Disincentive’

Utah Gov. Cox: Jobs Report Shows Extra Benefits a 'Disincentive' spencer cox speaks in front of a utah seal Gov. Spencer Cox, R-Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Sunday, 09 May 2021 02:08 PM

Republicans are right to push for ending enhanced unemployment payments, as the $300 extra a week is a "disincentive" to getting people to go back to work, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said Sunday in response to a report this past week showing just 266,000 jobs were added nationally in April.

"It is a terrible jobs report, but that's what happens when we pay people not to work," the Republican leader said on CNN's "State of the Union." "There are families struggling, we want to help them out, but at some point, have to roll that back."

Cox said the biggest problem now facing his state at this point is in finding workers for unfilled jobs because the federal jobless benefits meant to help people out of work during the coronavirus pandemic is encouraging people to stay home rather than find jobs.

Several GOP governors, including in Montana, South Carolina, and Arkansas have said they plan to roll back the enhanced benefits.

Meanwhile, Cox said he doesn't support President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, even while Utah has a C+ rating from the Society of Engineers when it comes to infrastructure in the states.

"I should point out that C+ is the highest in the nation," said Cox. "It's not a great score, but we're the best in the nation when it comes to that. I've said all along that there is room for bipartisanship and common ground on infrastructure, especially traditional infrastructure…we have an aging infrastructure. We heard it during the Biden administration and the Trump administration and we are hearing it now. Everybody believes there is room to get something done and I hope they'll figure it out."

Meanwhile, House Republicans will meet this week to vote on whether to remove House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney from her leadership role, and Cox said the move shows his party is "very divided," but "that's no secret."

"I'm not the first person to say that, but as we talk about broadening the tent and bringing in a new generation of Republicans we have to allow for those differences," said Cox. "We are seeing it here in Utah, It's playing out everywhere."

Even though Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, recently got booed during a recent gathering of delegates, Cox said that "the truth is" that in Utah, "we believe there's room in the party for both Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Mike Lee, and they're working together on really important legislation. I hope there's room in the party for all of those voices."

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