GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) faced blowback on social media after claiming Tuesday that members of his own family were not going back to work because they were getting unemployment benefits.
Graham made the claim at a budget hearing on Tuesday, telling fellow lawmakers that expanded unemployment benefits were creating a crisis for businesses trying to fill vacancies after Covid, and that Americans were avoided taking on work.
Touche' Lindsey Graham. Nice new lie-angle about unemployment benefits. He never has to divulge who these phantom "family members" are and can continue to lie about it. Nicely played.
— WTF Seriously (@stopbeingaderp) June 8, 2021
“There’s a lot of jobs out there that are unfilled and will never be filled until you change the benefit structure,” he told Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). “Does that logic make sense to you, given where we’re at in our economy?”
Young told him she understood, “but I’ve also not met Americans who would prefer not to work”.
The South Carolina senator went on to say that some of his own family were avoiding work because of expanded unemployment, in an apparent bid to support his earlier point.
“I got a lot of people in my family that ain’t working because they’re getting – I’ll show you some of my family,” Mr Graham told Ms Young.
Although it was not clear if Graham was being truthful, the senator faced ridicule on Twitter for appearing to throw his own family under the bus.
“Touche’ Lindsey Graham. Nice new lie-angle about unemployment benefits,” a user wrote. “He never has to divulge who these phantom ‘family members’ are and can continue to lie about it. Nicely played.”
“I don’t know anyone, including family members, that aren’t working because of unemployment benefits,” another Twitter user added. “[But] I DO know people who don’t work because the don’t have affordable childcare”.
The remarks follow the extension of $300 weekly unemployment benefits for Americans until August, as part of the Biden administration’s response to Covid.
i don't believe a word this lying sycophant and flip-flopping political flounder says, not since he embraced Trump after warning Trump would destroy the Republican Party
South Carolina election should be deeply audited. I don't trust their state officials to run a fair election
— DocBass (@DocBass4) June 8, 2021
Despite Graham’s claims, economists say there is not sufficient data to show expanded unemployment benefits as the only or even primary driver of the shortage. Experts also point to lingering health concerns, a lack of child care options and the inability of many people — particularly women — to return to the workforce due to pandemic-related barriers.