Texas Joins States Ending Extra $300 In Weekly Jobless Aid

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas on Monday joined the growing number of states that will stop paying the federally funded $300 in extra pandemic-related weekly unemployment aid as businesses that scaled back or shuttered during the pandemic are reopening.

The extra benefits in Texas will end June 26, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said in a letter to the Biden administration. He joins at least a dozen other governors, all Republicans, who are opting out of the additional federal unemployment benefits this summer.

The money is part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus measure approved in March and is set to expire in September. But business groups urged Abbott to opt out early, arguing it was hampering the Texas economy's rebound.

Other expanded unemployment benefits in Texas, including one making gig workers and the self-employed eligible for assistance for the first time, will also end in June.

Factors besides the extra money help explain why people who are out of work might be reluctant to take jobs. Government surveys show that some still fear exposure to the virus. Many women, especially working mothers, also left the workforce to care for children still in online school for at least part of the week.