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Sen. John Cornyn of Texas Calls It a 'Mistake' to Help Unemployed During Pandemic

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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore

Sen. John Cornyn called it a "mistake" to extend benefits to unemployed Americans during the COVID-19 crisis on a Friday video call with the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

"This is one area where we found that we did make a mistake, because we actually added a $600-a-week benefit from the federal government," the Texas Republican said on a clip from the call shared by progressive group American Bridge 21st Century. "And some people, we found out, in some wage brackets, were actually making more money not to work than to work. So, that expires in July, and we’re not going to do that again."

The statement comes as Texas' unemployment rate reached 13% — its second-highest ever — and as economists warn it will likely take years for the job market to recover.

After initially voting to provide unemployment benefits for people thrown out of work by the health crisis, Cornyn signaled in early May that he favored rolling back the $600 benefit.

“I keep getting asked about that back home and I say we just made a mistake,” he told NBC News reporter Julie Tsirkin.

Over recent weeks, Cornyn has taken heat for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic and doubling down on his racist claim that "Chinese culture" is to blame for its spread.

Although Cornyn has amassed a $12.9 million reelection war chest, he faces a tough reelection fight in November. Democrats have pledged to make a multimillion-dollar effort to take down the three-term senator.

Former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's choice in the July 14 runoff to take on Cornyn, raised $1.7 million in the second quarter. Her runoff opponent, Democratic Texas Sen. Royce West, raised $430,000.

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