July 26, 2021
Dear Leader McConnell:
Our national debt from the past year now exceeds the cumulative deficits for the first 200 years of our country’s existence. The enormity of recent federal spending is driving inflation rates up and jeopardizing the long-term health and immediate growth of our economy. It is absolutely vital that we recommit ourselves to fiscal responsibility so American families and businesses can thrive.
Various unemployment and welfare programs created or expanded in response to the pandemic are now disincentivizing a return to work. In some cases, individuals with two dependents can collect more than $44,000 per year in cash-style benefits, all in lieu of work at a time when there are 9.3 million open jobs.  While Senate Democrats are pushing to make many of the pandemic programs permanent, we must make it a priority to end these policies because they are keeping Americans on the sidelines by discouraging work and encouraging continued dependency.
Therefore, as part of any discussions surrounding a potential debt ceiling increase or any new spending, we urge you to consider the following priorities and make them preconditions to any legislation that once again raises or suspends the debt ceiling, or appropriates more dollars:
- End all federal pandemic unemployment programs on time, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC).More than 65 percent of business owners agree that the $300 federal unemployment payments specifically are making it more difficult to hire. A majority also say they have had to turn down business opportunities, and that their workers are suffering lower morale from heavier-than-normal workloads. Voters are also nearly twice as likely to identify these bonus programs as the cause for people staying on unemployment than low wages. A majority of states have announced their early opt-out of these programs, and multiple polls show voters agree with that decision.   Additionally, states that announced June opt-outs are enjoying more than double the reduction in unemployment claims as states keeping the programs until September. In fact, since May, opt-out states have seen a 35 percent drop in new claims, and 19 percent drop in people on unemployment overall.
- Do not make the anti-work changes to the Child Tax Credit permanent. Much of the $44,000 in cash-type benefits referenced above comes from transforming the child tax credit into a costly new welfare program. The credit was designed to provide tax relief for working families, not disincentive work as it does now by providing handouts to non-working parents. Any permanent extension of these negative changes would cost trillions of dollars and could leave more low-income Americans out of the economic recovery. In a recent poll, a majority of American voters—53 percent—want the increase in the child tax credit to expire as planned. Only one-third want to see it continue.
As this nation works to return to normal, our commitment must return to fiscal responsibility and sensible policy. As you would agree, our party believes in reducing dependency, facilitating wealth creation for all, and serving as good stewards of the federal budget and taxpayer dollars. Those ideals, which are informed by our fundamental belief in the dignity of work and value of the individual, are paramount to exercising good judgment as members of the Senate.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. As always, we remain grateful for your leadership and service.
Tarren Bragdon Adam Brandon
President and CEO President
Foundation for Government Accountability FreedomWorks
Ryan Ellis Seton Motley
Center for a Free Economy Less Government
Andrew Langer Michael Melendez President Executive Vice President Institute for Liberty Libertas Institute
Phil Kerpen Andrew F. Quinlan President President
American Commitment Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Steve Moore Daniel Mitchell
Committee to Unleash Prosperity Center for Freedom and Prosperity
James Taylor David Williams
Heartland Institute Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Carrie Lukas Heather Higgins
Independent Women’s Forum Independent Women’s Voice
Brent Wm. Gardner Brooke Rollins
Chief Government Affairs Officer President and CEO Americans for Prosperity America First Policy Institute
Jenny Beth Martin Brett Healy
Honorary Chairman President
Tea Party Patriots Action The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy
CJ Szafir David McIntosh
Institute for Reforming Government Club for Growth
Tom Schatz Jon Caldara
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Independence Institute
Dave Trabert Jameson Taylor
Chief Executive Officer CEO and President Kansas Policy Institute Center for Political Renewal