U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Wednesday held his weekly press call, in which he delivered updates on pressing issues on the federal level.
Alabama’s junior senator discussed his new legislative effort to combat the border crisis, labor shortages seriously impacting Alabama businesses and Democrats’ attempt to federalize the elections process in every state.
Tuberville praised Governor Kay Ivey’s announcement this week that Alabama will opt-out of all federal unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the $300 weekly supplemental payments for individuals on unemployment.
The freshman senator noted that he has been traveling the state to hear directly from Alabamians when the Senate is not in session in Washington, D.C.
“And the number one thing I have been hearing recently is that Alabama businesses are ready to hire again, but are struggling to fill job openings,” Tuberville advised. “Big time. These businesses are excited to … open their doors and play a part in getting some sense of normalcy back for our country. But we’re seeing would-be workers choose to accept enhanced unemployment benefits over choosing to accept the available opportunities to return to work.”
“There are 7.4 million job openings in the country, but Democrats would rather discourage folks from seizing the opportunity to go out and earn a living,” he continued. “That’s exactly what the current unemployment payments are doing.”
Tuberville stressed that it “is hard for small businesses to compete with” the federal supplemental unemployment payments, which will end in the state effective June 19.
“Some folks need this money, and that is fine,” Tuberville said of unemployment. “But it is clear our economy is roaring back to life, and we need to encourage people to seize the opportunity in front of them and go back to work. It’s just not for the now, it’s about building a future in the workforce again. We’ve got to continue to rebuild this country back.”
He subsequently mentioned legislation he has introduced entitled the “Back to Work Bonus Act.” This bill — for a limited time — would a provide one-time payment of either $1,200 (full-time) or $600 (part-time) to each unemployed worker who obtains employment, comparable to a hiring bonus.
“My message to folks listening back home who have struggled this past year with the economic burden of COVID, is that we are entering a new phase where vaccines are available and jobs are there for the taking. We have waited over a year for a moment like this, and we should all be jumping at the opportunity to safely return into the workforce and play a part in our country’s economic recovery,” Tuberville remarked.
Later in the call, he spoke more about the coronavirus vaccines — reiterating his longstanding call for Alabamians to get vaccinated.
“I cannot stress this enough,” Tuberville underscored.
“I continue to hear folks being hesitant to get their shot,” he outlined. “To those folks I say this: I’ve got mine, it was safe. My family has theirs. And it has been effective. Go to your doctor and ask questions. There are locations all over Alabama that are ready and willing and able to help you make a decision and then hopefully give you your shot.”
“Getting your shot is the best way we can put this virus behind us and get our country and our state back going again,” Tuberville concluded.
The senator is set to feature in public service announcements encouraging vaccinations, along with the likes of University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, basketball legend Charles Barkley and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn