UPDATED 11:15 AM PT – Monday, August 9, 2021
An Oklahoma judge has ordered the state to restore a $300 enhanced unemployment benefit. On Friday, District Judge Anthony Bonner issued a preliminary injunction, which mandated the state to resume the federal relief program.
Under the ruling, the unemployment benefits would be provided to certain people who have not been previously eligible, such as gig workers and self-employed individuals. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) ended the benefits in June as part of an initiative to get unemployed state residents back to work.
“Our challenge is not to get businesses back open. We’ve done that,” the governor expressed. “It’s been getting employees back to work. Without a doubt, one of the factors causing this has been the continued extension of extra federal benefits.”
There is a direct correlation between unemployment numbers dropping in July and Republican governors removing the benefits that paid people more to stay at home than work.
Capping unemployment benefits encourages Americans to return to work and stimulates our economic recovery.
— Congressman Greg Steube (@RepGregSteube) August 6, 2021
This comes after several workers argued Stitt did not have the authority to cut the program ahead of its set expiration date in September. Meanwhile, the ruling may not be the final word in the case as Oklahoma could appeal.