Since the coronavirus began wreaking havoc on the state’s economy, more than 611,000 Missourians have filed for unemployment. Nationally, more than 42 million Americans have requested jobless benefits. East-central Missouri Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer says Congress could consider whether to help states deal with their declining unemployment funds.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) Photo courtesy of US House of Representatives

“I seriously doubt that most states unemployment funds can stand the sort of hit that it’s taking right now. We may have to help them with that,” he tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly. “In order for them to get their funds back up and running, they have to place a tax on small businesses especially. And it’s something that’s going to be very troublesome.”

Meanwhile, Luetkemeyer says funding to deal with the coronavirus seems to be in pretty good shape nationwide. He says there might be additional federal help for some coronavirus expenses.

“I know some of the states want us to write them a blank check. That’s not going to happen,” says Luetkemeyer. “But right now, the states actually have got a lot of money for covid expenses and aren’t spending it. Because of the way the bill is written, it can’t go to a lot of the smaller counties and they’re just sitting there.”

Luetkemeyer, whose district covers Jefferson City and Lake of the Ozarks, says lawmakers are waiting to see whether another direct payment to Americans is needed.

The Republican from central Missouri’s St. Elizabeth served six years in the Missouri House.

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