Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told unemployed Floridians on Wednesday that May will be the last month that they can collect unemployment benefits without proof that they are seeking employment.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has delivered a message to his state’s unemployed residents: Either start looking for a job, or you’ll stop receiving unemployment benefits https://t.co/UAprBYohXb
— DC⚡️101 (@DC101) May 7, 2021
According to CBS Miami, Florida’s Republican governor, who had earlier lifted the state’s policy demanding such evidence due to the pandemic — said that now that the state has reopened, there is enough room for jobs and competent people need to “get off the government dole.”
“Normally when you’re getting unemployment, the whole idea is that it’s temporary,” DeSantis reportedly said. “You need to be looking for work to be able to get off unemployment.”
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He went on to note that compared to the situation at the height of the coronavirus pandemic — there are now a lot of work opportunities in the state — being one of the earliest to reopen.
“It was a disaster, so we suspended those job search requirements. I think it’s pretty clear now — we have an abundance of job openings,” the GOP governor added.
“We absolutely can put more people to work. The demand is there. Businesses want to hire more people, and I think we can go in that direction very soon,” he added.
Local reports earlier noted that Florida’s unemployment rate reached a peak of 13.8% during the months of Covid-19 related lockdowns in April 2020.
According to the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, however, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7%in March, which is lower than the national average and includes about 475,000 workers out of a workforce of 10.7 million.
“I think now we’re in just a different situation, you have a surplus of jobs, particularly in restaurant, lodging, hospitality, that people want to hire,” De Santis said.
“I mean, you see the signs all over the place. Look, that’s a good problem to have. But we also just want to make sure, like, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing. But making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work, and making sure those incentives align, better.”
The Republican governor has been a fierce critic of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to its Covid-19 precautions that put on hold Florida’s cruise ship industry.
Florida’s unemployment benefits will soon require proof of job searches https://t.co/HJwllbEpQx
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) May 6, 2021
DeSantis also brushed off concerns on whether workers were taking advantage of improvements to the unemployment scheme. Though Florida’s state benefits are low, many unemployed workers are now eligible for federal unemployment benefits.
“I don’t think it’s manipulation. You know, whatever the benefits are, people are availing themselves of it. That’s not their fault,” DeSantis said.
Earlier this week, DeSantis announced this week that Florida will be sending one-time $1,000 bonuses to the approximately 174,000 first responders in the state — including law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and firefighters — who worked during the pandemic.
“This one-time bonus is a small token of appreciation, but we can never go far enough to express our gratitude for their selflessness,” DeSantis said.
Some want to defund the police.
In Florida, we’re funding them & then some by providing all of our heroes $1,000 bonuses. This represents more than 174,000 first responders across the state!
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 5, 2021
In a separate tweet, he added: “Some want to defund the police. In Florida, we’re funding them & then some by providing all of our heroes $1,000 bonuses. This represents more than 174,000 first responders across the state!”
DeSantis has emerged as a rising star in the Republican Party — even ranking second to former President Donald Trump in a poll conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where Trump was named the most popular GOP presidential candidate for the 2024 election and was the favorite candidate to win the nomination for 2024 with 55% of the votes, followed by DeSantis at 21%.
The same CPAC poll found that if the former Republican president was not to run in the next presidential election, DeSantis will become the runaway winner within the party with 43% — followed only by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem with 11%.
Former President Trump said last week that he is “100%” considering a run in the next presidential election and is “certainly” looking to tap Governor DeSantis as his running mate.
Others speculate, however, that DeSantis could be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024.