White House walks back Biden’s plan to let pandemic unemployment benefits expire in September

The White House has not made a decision on whether the expanded unemployment benefits launched during the pandemic should expire in September, press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

President Joe Biden previously stated in June that it “makes sense” to let the benefits expire on the current timeline, given the harsh critiques Republicans and some economists had launched against the program over the past year, yet a number of Democratic lawmakers have called for making the pandemic expansions permanent.

But Psaki told reporters at Friday’s White House press briefing that “there has not been any decision about this at this point” when asked about unemployment benefits in light of the report that saw 943,000 jobs added over the past month.

Later in the briefing, she added that the administration had not seen any “evidence” that states ending expanded unemployment benefits early had any impact on the latest jobs report.

Biden himself, speaking on the jobs report earlier in the day, said the statistics prove that “the Biden plan is working. The Biden plan produces results, and the Biden plan is moving the country forward.”

“Economic growth is the fastest in 40 years. Jobs are up. The employment rate is the lowest since the pandemic hit. Black unemployment is down as well,” he added. “Why? Because we put in place the necessary tools early in my presidency, the COVID vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine plan, the American Rescue Plan to fight the virus and fight the economic mess we inherited.”