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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is adamantly refusing to consider increasing unemployment benefits in his state as many works are still struggling due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a news conference held on Friday, April 16, the Republican governor was asked about the possibility of him supporting an increase in unemployment benefits, reports The Tampa Bay Times. Currently, the state is paying unemployed workers $275 per week, an amount considered to be one of the lowest in the United States. While state lawmakers insist the amount is not substantial, DeSantis made it clear that he has a different take.
According to the governor, $275 is enough and he has no intention to support an increase. "Increase benefits?" he said. "Look, no, I think we're getting people back to work." When asked a second time, DeSantis doubled down on his take. "Our unemployment is what it is. It's fine," he said. "The federal government obviously is putting in a lot of money."
The Florida governor also argued that his goal is to get people back to work although the pandemic continues to spread in his state. Despite DeSantis' take, Florida's unemployment benefits are severely underwhelming as it is only equivalent to approximately $6.87 per hour. In wake of the governor's latest remarks, lawmakers and critics have taken to Twitter to fire back.
Florida Democratic lawmaker Jason Pizzo tweeted, "Aug. 2020, [Gov. Ron DeSantis] said two important things: 1) he couldn't change weekly amount - that's the legislature's purview 2) roadblocks to benefits looked intentional The House and Senate need to hold firm and do what's fair and decent for today, and tomorrow."
Aug. 2020, @GovRonDeSantis said two important things: 1) he couldn’t change weekly amount - that’s the legislature… https://t.co/xzEtP8pCWA— Jason Pizzo (@Jason Pizzo)1618592238.0
Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando, Fla.) also pushed back against DeSantis' claims as she criticized the state's "embarrassingly low" unemployment rate. She tweeted, "Unemployment is NOT fine. It's broken & benefits are embarrassingly low."
The Governor likes to call out “elites” but this this comment from him is offensive & elite! Unemployment is NOT f… https://t.co/XWlkaSGXhN— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨)1618594039.0
Senate Bill 1906 advanced in the Florida Senat4e on Thursday, April 15, and is now poised for a vote on the floor. If passed, it would increase the statement's minimum and maximum amount for weekly unemployment benefits. The bill also includes an extension of the duration of time a person can receive unemployment benefits. Instead of 12 weeks, recipients will be entitled to 14 weeks.
On Saturday, Newsweek profiled a number of historians outraged at the effort by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to create an "America First" congressional caucus that would defend "Anglo-Saxon political traditions."
Grand View University associate professor of medieval history Thomas Lacaque did not mince words: "These American fascists have no relation to Anglos or Saxons, the terminology is clearly chosen on far right lines. They do remind me of Beowulf, though —violent, vain, boasting oafs who think killing is governance and will die doing dumb shit leaving the nation in ruins."
"There is no such thing as 'Anglo-Saxon' political traditions' unless Margorie [sic] Taylor Greene is talking about Old English charters and she isn't," wrote University of Toronto medieval scholar Mary Rambaran-Olm. "If she wants to return to those, she'll have to stop advocating for gun use. 'Anglo-Saxon' is being weaponized by the far-right." She added that the very term "Anglo-Saxon" is a "racist dog-whistle, inaccurate and generally sucks balls."
The new caucus, which Greene co-founded with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and has attracted membership interest from Reps. Barry Moore (R-AL) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), has even drawn criticism from other Republicans.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded to the news by saying, "The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans — not nativist dog whistles." And Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a frequent critic of Trump loyalists, has called for any Republican who joins the caucus to be stripped of committee assignments and expelled from the Republican conference.
Reports that Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) -- among others -- have formed an "America First Caucus" that promotes Anglo-Saxon political traditions, is being attacked on all sides on Saturday morning with one Republican stating any member should be booted from all committees and a Democrat joining in to call out the explicit racism stated in the conservative group's mission statement.
"A nascent 'America First Caucus' in Congress linked to Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has been distributing materials calling for a 'common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions' and a return to architectural style that 'befits the progeny of European architecture.' Reps. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) have also agreed to join the group," Punchbowl News reported on Friday.
That led to Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) to tweet, "Just when I was hoping to take a long weekend away from crazy I see this. Completely disgusted," before calling for all members of the group to be sanctioned by the Republican Party.
Rep Ted Lieu (D-CA) was more blunt in his tweet, writing, "Dear @mtgreenee & @RepGosar I have some questions about your Anglo-Saxon caucus: Will non Aryans be allowed to join? If so, do we have to sit in the back of the room because we're not white? Can we have fried rice and nachos during the meetings? Asking for a friend."
You can see his tweet below:
Dear @mtgreenee & @RepGosar: I have some questions about your Anglo-Saxon caucus: Will non Aryans be allowed to jo… https://t.co/iXpJeLjzKM— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu)1618629544.0
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