By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Just days after U.S. Sen. John Barrasso praised President Joe Biden for his willingness to work with Republicans over an infrastructure deal, the senator criticized the president for the current state of the economy.
Barrasso spoke on the Senate floor this week about the latest rise in unemployment, as well as the uptick in prices for consumer goods, especially gasoline and groceries.
“Before Joe Biden took office we saw the fastest economic recovery in American history. We were bouncing back from the coronavirus shutdowns,” Barrasso said. “It’s a very different story now. It no coincidence this is a direct result of President Biden’s policies.”
He blamed Biden and congressional Democrats for continuing to pay out an additional $300 weekly pandemic-related unemployment insurance benefits, thereby incentivizing to people to stay unemployed rather than seek a regular paycheck. Many states, including Wyoming, have ended these benefits to push people to go back to work.
Barrasso added that job openings were at an all-time high, but industries of all kinds have struggled to hire people due to low wages, a lack of benefits or both.
Some people have also been hesitant to return to work in-person because of the pandemic, even though infection numbers have declined steadily recently.
Barrasso felt that the Biden administration was wrong in continuing to incentivize people to stay home.
“People want to work. People want to hire. The incentives coming from government are absolutely wrong,” Barrasso said. “It’s Joe Biden and Big Government that are getting in the way of people returning to work.”
He added that under the Biden administration, middle class people will be “squeezed,” something he claimed also happened under former President Barack Obama’s administration. The senator said April was the worst month for inflation since the recession in 2008.
“It’s working families in Wyoming who are struggling to get by who are going to get hurt the worst,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the price of gas has gone up. Joe Biden’s first action in office was to draw a target on the back of American energy and pull the trigger.”