Walorski on Newsmax: Commonsense Safeguards Needed to Stop Rampant Unemployment Fraud

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Walorski on Newsmax: Commonsense Safeguards Needed to Stop Rampant Unemployment Fraud

Discusses How Extra Federal Jobless Aid and Trillions in New Spending Are Threatening Our Economic Recovery

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), the top Republican on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, today joined Newsmax’s Wake Up America to discuss legislation introduced by House Republicans to combat rampant unemployment fraud, which has cost American taxpayers as much as $200 billion. She also highlighted recent actions in states like Indiana to end enhanced federal unemployment benefits in order to help get Americans back to work and our economic recovery back on track.

On Democrats’ refusal to address the problem of unchecked unemployment fraud:

“I think they’re turning a blind eye to the fact that this unbelievable amount of extended unemployment – which now goes [into] September – they’re believing that this isn’t really happening. They don’t want to put safeguards on this massive amount of money they’re sending out to people to stay home and not work.”

On how the Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act would protect taxpayers and workers:

“This actually could go down in history as the greatest ripoff of taxpayer money we’ve ever seen. This could get as high as $200 billion. … What this bill does, it adds safeguards on the front end like identity verification to prevent fraud before it occurs. It strengthens efforts to catch the criminals and recover those funds. And then it adds protections for taxpayers and victims of identity theft.”

On how states like Indiana are getting people back to work:

“Our House leadership sent a letter out – I joined them – last Friday to every Republican governor in the country asking them to please stop the extension of the federal benefits. … I’m happy to say, on Monday morning of this week, the state of Indiana’s governor, Governor Eric Holcomb, did that. … That’s just good news for employers in my district. It doesn’t matter if you have two employees and you’re a mom and pop shop on Main Street or if you’re a production facility generating manufacturing and have 5,000 employees. This is a key to getting people back to work.”

On the threat of inflation driven by Democrats’ reckless spending policies:

“What’s already starting right now, which we haven’t talked about, is inflation. The prices in this country are skyrocketing. So all these folks have all this money in their pockets, by next summer will probably have it taken out of the left pocket in the right pocket, right back to the Democrats in tax increases. So I don’t see anything good coming from that.”

Watch the full interview here.

This week, Congresswoman Walorski joined House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and 14 other House Republicans in introducing legislation to combat fraud in federal unemployment programs. Read the bill here.

The Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2021 (H.R. 3268) would:

  • Prevent fraud on the front end. Requires verification of identity, earnings, and prior employment of applicants prior to authorizing benefits and allows states to claim reimbursement for administrative expenses to improve identity verification.
  • Support claw back of fraudulently paid dollars. Establishes the joint COVID Unemployment Fraud Taskforce and incentivizes States to go after fraud by allowing them to retain 5 percent of recovered funds.
  • Provide relief to victims of unemployment fraud and identity theft. Implements protections for taxpayers and victims of unemployment fraud.

Last week, Walorski hosted a panel with Ways and Means Republicans to examine the issue of rampant unemployment fraud. Video of the panel is available here

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that at least $63 billion – and as much as $89 billion – in unemployment benefits have been improperly paid since March 2020, largely due to fraud. The identity verification company ID.me estimates the true amount could be as high as $200 billion. Democrats earlier this year extended COVID unemployment programs through September 6th with no additional protections against fraud – and without holding a single hearing to determine how to prevent it.

Walorski also recently joined House Republican leaders in sending a letter to governors across the country urging them to help get Americans back to work and our economy back on track. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Monday announced the state would end its participation in the federal program. Read House Republicans’ letter here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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