the

Labor Secretary Scalia testifies on unemployment insurance amid Covid-19 ⁠— 6/9/2020

to our hearing both those that are in

the room and those that aren't in the

room before we start I think it's

important again to note what's going on

all around us and that is the

acknowledgement of racial injustice that

has gone on for far too long in our

country I certainly support those who

are speaking out and making their voices

heard in a peaceful manner to bring

about change while change does not

always come easily I want to remind

those watching this hearing today that

change is possible in December 2018 the

first step to Act which I introduced

became law and I worked in partnership

with several Republican and Democrat

senators Senator Durbin was the lead

person for the Democrats this law is the

most significant little justice reform

in a generation a lot of people didn't

think it was possible but we did it by

working together in a bipartisan way

we're also working together in other

ways to address racial disparities such

as in health care the cares Act and

other colvett response efforts aim to

help all but especially minority

populations that have been hit hardest

by the virus we've knocked down

financial barriers to receiving care

through the pandemic and provided

support to our frontline providers to

ensure access we continue to focus

attention on the devastating effect of

kovat has had on nursing homes and the

need to do better for resident staffs

the Trump administration has announced a

number of efforts to address the

disparity or disparate impact of Cova 19

on African Americans others and I ask at

this point unanimous consent to insert a

document along those lines in regard to

those efforts I hear no objection so so

ordered

we're also taking action beyond Colvig

we're working on a bipartisan effort to

tackle this tragic issue of maternal

mortality and the need to improve

outcomes for mothers and babies all

Americans want lower prescription drug

costs but our efforts are especially

important as minorities suffer from the

high rate of common disease such as

diabetes diabetes and hybrid

hypertension we're exploring improvement

for those with kidney disease patients

in need of organ transplant and more

beyond that we're also in the middle of

a transformation of our child welfare

system we know that too many children

end up in foster care and that black

children are over-represented in this

system and thanks to our bipartisan

efforts States are now transforming the

way that they operate to keep more kids

safely at home instead of placing them

in foster care there's obviously much

more to be done and I look forward to

working with my colleagues on both sides

the aisle to continue those efforts

now I'd shift to my remarks to focus on

our topic of our hearing as a result of

Cova 19 and related state stay at home

orders millions of Americans across the

country have lost work Congress passed

the cares act to provide help to those

affected by in many different ways

including by temporarily expanding

unemployment insurance these increased

UI benefits have played an important

role in helping those who lost a job or

who couldn't work as a result of the

pandemic given the need to act quickly

to reduce the spread of kovat 19

providing extra help through the

unemployment system made sense as a way

to reduce the economic impact of

stay-at-home orders but now we're facing

a much different situation

than we were in mid-march states are

reopening employment recently turned

positive we need to shift our focus to

helping people safely return to work

making sure businesses are able to come

back quickly and to put the country back

on a path to economic growth we've also

learned a few things since the Care Act

became law the Care Act provides an

additional $600 per week to those

receiving ui representing the gap

between the US average Way weekly wage

and the average weekly UI benefit one

thing we've learned is how poorly

targeted the additional $600 per week

was as it appears most recipients are

being paid more on unemployment

insurance

than they were when working this of

course discourages people from returning

to work or taking a new job thus

delaying the recovery recent research

published by the University of Chicago

estimates more than two-thirds of the UI

recipients may receive benefits that

exceed lost earnings with more than 20%

potentially getting double what they

used to earn as long as they don't work

some will say this is just an academic

paper and that these extra payments

aren't really an issue today those folks

saying that haven't been reading the

many letters that I get from Iowans each

day and I'm sure every member of the

committee is hearing the same thing

business is having a hard time bringing

people back to work or from hardworking

constituents earning less than others

they know or getting unemployment let me

share a few stories from letters I've

received letter number one my daughter

went back to work voluntarily because

she wanted to help insure the company

would still be around after Colvin 19

many of her cold war

chose to stay at home and due to the 600

extra dollars per week are making more

than she is this isn't right now letter

number two senator grassley I'm a small

business owner who's in desperate need

for additional employees yet I received

very few applications one of both jobs

the issue is the additional unemployment

with the additional $600 per week my

potential employees make more on

unemployment than they would working

letter number three we're trying to hire

back laid off Colvin 19 related

employees or anyone else as well for $15

an hour and we find that they're

receiving equivalent of $20 an hour and

unemployment benefits suddenly the

government became our competitor the

question to me then from this

constituent how could that happen these

letters represent a small sample of

those who write in daily with concerns

about the unemployment payment of $600

extra on top of what the state gives

based on these letters and others I'm

sure we've all received you'd think

everyone would agree we need to find a

better way to help those who have lost

income but you'd be wrong despite

mounting evidence of the problems these

extra payments are causing the House

passed a bill recently to extend them

not just for a month or two but for

another six months

through January 2021 given this I asked

the Congressional Budget Office what you

what impact these additional payments

might have if continued here's what they

said roughly five of every six

recipients would receive benefits that

exceeded the weekly amounts they could

expect earn from work during those six

months employment continuing the quote

employment would probably be lower

in the second half of 2020 then it would

be in the if the increase was not

extended in the calendar year 2021

employment would be lower than it would

be without extension that doesn't sound

like a recipe for economic growth

especially given last week's jobs report

which shows people are returning to

their job and that millions more expect

to return soon I know everyone is

focused on these extra $600 checks but

let me remind everyone of the other

cares act policy policies that continue

past July 1st the cares Act allows those

out of work as a direct result of kovat

19 to get UI benefits through December

this includes people who are infected or

caring for someone someone infected

those who can't go to work because their

workplaces closed due to Kovac 19 and

those who rely on day care that's not

available as a result of endemic second

individuals get an additional 13 weeks

of unemployment if they're still

unemployed after state benefits run out

and in states where unemployment rates

remain high

further weeks of benefits will also be

available and most importantly the Care

Act provides funding for what are called

work sharing programs under these

programs instead of laying off employees

businesses with reduced hours can pay

employees a partial UI check to offset

lost income states can also use it to

bring back workers on a part-time basis

if they can't fully reopen for a while

and don't forget UI is the only game in

town here or it's not the only game in

town the cares Act includes many

policies to help those affected by the

pandemic

including the employee retention Tax

Credit the Paycheck protection program

direct payments to individuals and other

policies designed to help businesses

reopen and people to return to work the

UI system will continue to play a very

important role in addressing the impacts

of the pandemic

however our efforts must be coordinated

to help workers and businesses in a way

that is most productive I look forward

to hearing from our witnesses today to

learn what's worked what hasn't and

discuss how we can make sure our efforts

in Congress can best support a strong

economic recovery at the same time we're

trying to help people who are hurting

now

I call on ranking member Wyden thank you

for being here Thank You mr. chairman

and thank you mr. chairman for holding

this hearing there is lots to discuss

today and I'd like to start with

Friday's jobs report the president

celebrated like it was the greatest

victory in America since the end of

World War two and I want to start by

trying to give this a little bit of

perspective

speaking conservatively more than 20

million Americans are still out of work

today and my guess is you're not doing a

whole lot of celebrating if you're among

the many people who don't know how

they're gonna pay rent or put food on

the table this month watching the

president celebrate in the midst of this

jobs crisis is yet another sign that

Donald Trump just doesn't understand

what it's like for people born without a

real estate portfolio first I want to

walk through how the Senate got here

starting in March the pandemic hit the

economy went into lockdown and

unemployment

shot into the stratosphere so when the

carers Act negotiations began Democrats

made our bottom line and expansion to

unemployment benefits that would bring

more workers into the system and fully

replace people's lost wages throughout

the negotiations and they went on for

days Secretary Scalia said that couldn't

be done because the states run

unemployment programs on Bronze Age

technology that cannot crunch the

numbers for individual workers Senate

Democrats said that doing nothing is

just unacceptable when you have this

hurt from sea to shining sea when

secretary Scalia failed to offer a plan

to get benefits out in a timely way

Democrats proposed a slapped some

solution $600 per week across the board

on top of traditional benefits adding up

the full wage replacement for the

typical worker so let's fast forward now

to this afternoon the pandemic is still

killing thousands of Americans each week

the nearly 2 million new unemployment

claims filed last week triple the

highest number of claims made in any

week during the Great Recession

it is a national scandal that African

Americans are not only dying of Kovan 19

at much higher rates they're also

suffering vastly more economic pain than

virtually anybody else black

unemployment is disproportionately high

and because black people have

systematically been excluded from

opportunity and wealth and Ameri

it's a lot less likely that they have

the financial resources to weather the

storm for the president to say the

recovery has arrived and everything is

turning into sunshine is just going to

perpetuate the economic injustice the

bottom line is the crisis is gonna go on

a lot longer if the Trump administration

and Senate Republicans start yanking out

these key pillars of economic support

like supercharged unemployment benefits

much of which go to the lowest paid

folks in the work force Main Street

businesses nationwide so many of them

hang on by a thread workers could lose

their homes and fall through the cracks

if the Senate is not in their corner so

like the Chairman I want to respond to a

few arguments that I've heard coming

from the other side arguments against

supercharged unemployment benefits first

is the idea that Americans who've lost

their jobs in the pandemic are just

plenty happy to sit around instead of

going back to work in my view that is

dead wrong and it's an insult to

American workers it's also a

misunderstanding of how the system

functions

I've been talking to out-of-work

Oregonians throughout this crisis and

what I hear overwhelmingly is they want

to work they want to work they want to

get back to their jobs they believe

deeply in the dignity of work they want

to earn their pay support their families

in return to their lives lives they had

before this pandemic and most

importantly they know that the path to

getting ahead in America is moving up

the economic ladder rather than being on

unemployment second members of this

committee has said some how unhealthy

for people to get unemployment benefits

during the crisis I sure think this is

out of touch with the realities people

are facing in this crisis these benefits

are worth saving

millions of jobless people from hunger

and homelessness in the middle of a

pandemic forcing people back into a

contagious workplace also further

spreads the virus that has killed a

hundred and ten thousand Americans and

turned nursing homes nationwide in the

scenes of tragedy third I've heard talk

among Republican senators of cutting the

expanded benefits possibly just saying

let's cut him in half so I want

colleagues to really get this one

straight between the cares Act and fed

lending programs big corporations are

getting trillions of dollars in support

to weather this crisis and now Senate

Republicans are saying well we're just

gonna cut what the little guy gets maybe

in half the system's already rigged to

favor the powerful and wealthy the

Congress sure shouldn't stack the deck

any longer our unemployment insurance

system created in the 1930s should have

been modernized long ago to cover the

gig worker the self-employed the

freelancer long ago benefits should have

been tied to economic conditions on the

ground I also believe Congress should

examine whether a federal approach for

administering unemployment benefits

could do a better job than the quilt of

50 different state systems operating

today nobody predicted the volume of

crisis were seeing a volume of claims

were seeing but whether it's due to

neglect or political sabotage too many

of these state systems are failing the

paint people who are desperate for help

I'm gonna close with one final thought

American workers are not to blame for

the jobs crisis that the country faces

today by now everybody has seen images

of cars stacked up for miles at food

bank distribution centers around the

country I gave out food just recently at

one of them colleagues these are

modern-day bread lines with so many

people out of work America is on the

precipice of an eviction tsunami

particularly in the black community

supercharging unemployment benefits

fully replacing people's lost wages

gig workers and freelancers into the

system was the right thing to do and I

know that's not just the opinion of

Democrats who got it done because right

now the president absurdly is taking

credit for the expansion in misleading

campaign ads on the airwaves right now

it is also a fact that every Republican

member of this committee voted to strip

the expanded benefits and slow down

their distribution and at least a few

turned around and then sent out press

releases touting the expansion that they

voted against colleagues that is some

serious hutzpah so the Senate now has a

choice it's about fairness for the tens

of millions out of work it's about

fairness for african-americans who are

disproportionately suffering it's about

fairness for the blue-collar worker who

looks around and sees a whole lot more

support going to a bunch of

multinational corporations than the

hard-hit workers like them who've done

nothing wrong

the only choice is to make an extension

of supercharged unemployment benefits

and to do it now mr. Chairman I look

forward to our witnesses and again I

want to thank you for scheduling here

Thank You senator Wyden our first panel

is one person our Secretary of Labor so

I'll give a short introduction secretary

Eugene Scalia was sworn in as Secretary

of Labor September 27th last year he has

served in a number of high-level

positions in and out of government prior

to his appointment he has served as

solicitor of Labor the department's top

legal officer also as a special

assistant to the Attorney General and as

a partner at a law firm

the Labor Department plays a very

central role in overseeing the new

federal programs and

to help workers and their families

respond to the virus endemic secretary

Scalia please proceed chairman Grassley

ranking member Wyden and members of the

committee thank you for the invitation

to testify today last Friday the Labor

Department issued a very encouraging

jobs report 2.5 million jobs were

created in May versus expectations that

we would lose 7.5 million jobs the

unemployment rate dropped nearly a point

in half instead of rising 5 points as

projected moreover the survey period for

that report

ended in mid-may since then many many

more Americans have returned to work our

economy has turned the corner against

the coronavirus all of us welcome that

news and we celebrated and ranking

member widened not because we think the

job is done but because we know the

situation has begun to improve robustly

and earlier than had been expected but

we're also mindful that millions of

Americans remain out of work

amid may unemployment was still at 13.3%

fortunately in March President Trump in

the Congress acted swiftly to address

the economic hardship of the virus the

cares act as we've heard provided an

additional $600 a week in unemployment

benefits on top of those provided by the

states by contrast in the so-called

great recession of 2008-2009 the

additional federal payment was $25 the

Act also extended these benefits to

independent contractors and the

self-employed who ordinarily do not

receive unemployment and in the families

first coronavirus response act of

thicker President Trump and Congress

made a billion dollars available to

States to help them administer their

unemployment insurance programs ranking

member Wyden thank you for your letter

last week acknowledging that after these

laws were passed the Labor Department

quote

took important steps to ensure these

benefits were made available to workers

as expeditiously as possible and quote

we dispersed the billion dollars in

administrative funding to the states

within a day or two of each state

certifying it had met the criteria set

by Congress this enabled the states to

hire more staff and improve technology

we sift Lee we swiftly provided state

guidelines on implementing the cares Act

less than 10 days after Kerr's was

enacted we had issued the essential

guidance states needed to administer the

programs the first state began making

Kerr's payments April 4th we've been in

constant communication with the states

including 14 different webinars for

state personnel I personally

participated in two large briefings for

state unemployment insurance directors

and have spoken with more than 20

governors still we know that too many

Americans have waited too long to

receive unemployment benefits state

unemployment offices were overwhelmed

before this year the highest number of

unemployment claims filed in a week was

695 thousand this spring in two weeks in

a row we had weekly filings nearly 10

times that previous record high we had

6.6 million two weeks in a row on top of

that many states have antiquated compute

computer systems as much as four years

old I spoke to one governor whose system

was so arcane he had to bring in

computer programmers from Latvia members

of this committee will recall when

Kerr's was being written that I

cautioned about the age of these state

systems and urged the Senate to use a

different means and I did identify

different means to pay unemployment

during the crisis fortunately

unemployment claims are now declining

states have hired more staff they've

made enhancements to their computer

systems they're reducing the backlog of

claims and Americans are returning to

work

going forward our department has these

goals first continuing to help States

make prompt unemployment payments to

workers entitled to them

second ensuring program integrity we are

working with our Inspector General other

federal agencies in the states to

address fraud and the criminals preying

on the system third we'll work with

States to help Americans transition back

to the job safely the $600 benefit was

an extraordinary measure to help

Americans who were shut out of the work

place in a closing economy as the

economy reopens

I appreciate that members of this

committee do not want the cares benefit

to be a deterrent to resuming work the

best thing for workers is work not

unemployment thank you again for this

hearing on this important subject and I

look forward to your questions today we

will have five minute round for

questions I'll start and then senator

Wyden and then I'll go down the list is

follow the usual course we do for our

our hearings according to first come

first serve unless you're at the table

when the gavel Falls

mr. secretary based on our witness today

are all of our witnesses today and a

request sent by Emma Kratz to the

Department of Labor Inspector General

yesterday it seems that my Democratic

colleagues planned to highlight problems

Florida has ADD in distributing you UI

benefits but as I remember when the

cares Act was being developed you warned

states would have a difficult time

dealing with the unprecedented serbs and

applications for benefits let alone

implanting many new programs on top of

that many of us warned state a UI

systems would have major problems and

unfortunately we're right but it's not

just florida a one other state where I

heard the state of Oregon a person

running the program resigned because of

troubles with the program that would be

another state plagued with issues I'll

ask you if that's correct but before you

answer that my main question is what is

your department doing to help put states

on better footing going forward well mr.

chairman as I mentioned there was just

in entirely unprecedented surge in

claims during the months of March in

particularly April we've never seen

anything like it in our history

it came at a time when unemployment had

been so low that the unemployment

offices were shortly staff that that

added to the challenge together with the

technology we began working with the

states even before Kerr's was passed in

February we were starting to talk to

states about ways that they could be

using their unemployment systems to help

get that benefits out to people when

cares was enacted we moved very quickly

in a variety of ways we've issued 19

different guidance documents to make the

requirements clear we had the essential

guidance out to the states within ten

days of enactment we as I mentioned have

had a number of webinars we've been in

essentially constant contact with the

states we've also put them in touch with

something called the u.s. digital

service which is a tech group within the

executive office of the president it

ordinarily helps federal agencies with

technology problems but we made that

resource available to the states as well

as our own chief information officer we

provided them flexibilities to increase

staffing as well and we also moved as

quickly as we could to get the thick

rough funding out that billion dollars

within a day or two of getting the

information from the states that they'd

satisfied the criteria we got the money

out so it's been a subject of great

great focus mr. chairman but we know

there still is work to be done

I have one last question at this point

we've seen in recent weeks that states

are real

businesses people are adapting to new

guidelines about social distancing and

mask-wearing and these changes are

allowing economic activity to resume in

many different ways you run an agency

that gathers a variety of data points on

jobs and the economy what are some of

the things that you're seeing in the

data and try to tell us good signs and

troubling signs well mr. chairman the

most troubling sign of course has just

been how many Americans have had to file

for unemployment it's much more than we

saw for example in the so-called Great

Recession into 2008-2009 we recognized

the hardship that's meant for those

people and for their families that's

that's been the most troubling thing the

good news we saw Friday 2.5 million jobs

created at a time when we thought we had

lost seven and a half million that's

what the experts were forecasting a ten

million jobs swing unemployment going

down when people thought it was going to

be going up and mr. chairman that was

that was nearly a month ago because as

you know that survey was taken in

mid-may we know that since then more

states have reopened people have been

returning to work across the country and

when I look at Friday's jobs report I

see very good news for example many and

retail went back to work many went back

to work and leisure and hospitality but

I see other areas where people have not

yet gone back to work but we can be

confident they will one is health care

we lost about 1.4 million healthcare

jobs I believe in April we only put

about 300,000 back in May those jobs

will come back so there still is

important work to be done but but we are

making progress and and programs in the

cares actor help Thank You mr. secretary

now senator white mr. chairman thank you

it's gonna be a long day and I'll just

say mr. chairman and Secretary Scalia

I've been a little puzzled to hear your

simultaneous claim

that workers are going back to work and

the $600 a week benefit is deterring

them from returning both these claims

can't be correct in my view and we're

gonna want to examine it now let me

start this way

secretary Scalia reopening the economy

when it is safe is a good for everybody

situation the experts tell us though

that if people choose to go back to work

before it is safe the pandemic will last

longer more people will die and the

economy will suffer now I believe that

most employers want to do the right

thing and keep their workers safe but

they can't do it if they don't get clear

guidance on what makes a safe workplace

in the Kovan era the Department of Labor

has failed completely on this issue the

law is clear that a person cannot be

kicked off of unemployment if they turn

down a job because of unsuitable

conditions or a health or safety risk

enforcing these rules is crucial during

a pandemic on May 19th along with more

than 20 senators I sent you a letter

about this issue I have yet to receive a

response so mr. secretary let's see if

we can get this off to a decent start

will you commit here and now that the

Department of Labor will provide safety

first guidance in writing to ensure that

nobody loses their unemployment

insurance benefits because of risks to

their health or safety that's a yes or

no question

ranking member Wyden you mentioned clear

guidance that's actually been one of the

principal focuses of the Labor

Department I know we're here to talk

about unemployment insurance but when it

comes to health and safety in the

workplace through OSHA we have been

putting out extensive guidance I might

really

documents my time is short mr. secretary

a yes or no answer to the question with

respect to the guidance that more than

20 senators asked you about as I was

saying we've put out approximately 20

guidance documents on how to make the

workplace safe so that workers can

return that's been an area of great

focus that clear guidance is what we're

aiming to do in terms of the return to

work that you asked for that is to a

large extent a function of satan' state

law we don't want workers coming back to

unsafe workplaces that's why we've made

such a priority of explaining for them

and employers what's needed to make them

safe

however if it is safe other workers

should come back we want them to come

back and if they feel it's unsafe it

needs to be something that's that's

rooted in the facts not just a

generalized fear but that's that's

that's a topic generally covered by

state law and the states have some

weight we asked you about a federal

matter and nobody ought to be forced to

choose between their health and their

income and I believe States employers

and workers deserve some clear safety

first guidance on the issue more than 20

senators asked you about and if you're

ok with taken away you know a lifeline

to send people back to unsafe jobs in

the middle of a pandemic I think that's

wrong and I think it's inhumane now a

couple of other issues because time is

short do states have the capacity right

now to implement 100% wage replacement

on an individual basis as you know we

talked about this during the

negotiations you said they didn't have

it so now we're talking about what may

have changed so we need to know do

states have the capacity now to

implement 100 percent wage replacement

on an individual basis two points in

response ranking number widen first just

to be clear we have never suggested that

workers should sacrifice health for

returning

work we opposed them being put to that

choice as well second as to the state

systems I would welcome the opportunity

to talk to you about this further you

and I have had two or three really from

my secretary we need an answer on the

record today because that was one of the

big issues in the days and days of

negotiations we had I made it clear that

what I wanted was 100 percent wage

relation senator as I was saying we've

had some valuable conversations from my

perspective I hope from yours and I look

forward to the opportunity to discuss

this with you further I think actually

the states have made some progress in

our in a different place than they were

before and so we could talk about it

further but can they do it can they

actually do wage replacement on an

individual basis now that was why we had

to go to this Russ just as kind of

approach and I think you're still

telling me that they don't have the

capacity to implement a hundred percent

wage replacement on an individual basis

today and so that is still going to be a

major issue respectfully sir I did not

say that I said we should talk about it

I asked you whether they have the

capacity to do it and you wouldn't

answer the question so I'll look forward

to getting anything else she'd like to

offer so mr. secretary how many people

are out of work today without any

benefits that data is very hard to track

for a couple of different reasons

ranking number one as you know the

unemployment data we put out last week

for example was already from three to

four weeks ago so we don't have an exact

fix on the number of people well what's

a ballpark you're the Secretary of Labor

you're the guy in charge how many people

are out of work without any benefits and

if I could finish the second piece of

data that we don't have is a precise

count now of who has received the

benefits we receive weekly reports from

the state on that but again those are

two very

fluid pieces of data I would simply be

guessing if I tried to tell you as we

sit here today compared to where we were

three to four weeks ago and the jobs

report we put out and then with state

numbers that again are not current

either I'd just be guessing but gave you

a number what we do know is that

Americans are turning to work return to

work in large numbers that's very good

news but we know what we know we know

you what we know for your back secretary

aim that will need to be addressed mr.

secretary what we know for sure is that

more than 20 million people are out of

work now and we know that about two two

and a half went back and those 20

million people are disproportionally

found in those sectors where the wages

are really modest and I gather if you

and others have your way a lot of those

folks are going to face evictions and

they're gonna face evictions in a matter

of weeks and we are going to fight for

something else which is to make

unemployment benefits tied to economic

conditions that relates to a marketplace

that's something that I think we could

be working on together Thank You mr.

chairman senator Corner secretary Scalia

thank you for being here I thought we

were unified is the Congress and as all

Americans to try to deal with this

pandemic both on a public health and a

economic front but apparently that's not

consistently the case sometimes their

bad habits come back could we descend

into partisan accusations and question

people's good motives but I would like

to uh I'd like to ask you just to

remember with me what we did in the

cares Act which included this

enhancement for unemployment insurance

we were worried that not only were we in

the middle of a pandemic but that people

through no fault of their own as a

result of mitigation efforts would not

get any money any pay and so we decided

to make a direct payment to them through

the Treasury

and direct deposit the second front was

to make sure that we expanded and

extended unemployment insurance benefits

that would be what I would consider sort

of the second tier of support for

individuals who through no fault of

their own found themselves out of work

the third thing we did was passed the

Paycheck protection program which now as

we've appropriated six hundred and

seventy billion dollars to incentivize

employers to maintain their their

payroll their employees on payroll and

then the next thing we did is through

the Federal Reserve to appropriate money

that they could then lend

according to Treasury Department rules

under their Main Street lending facility

this was a historic response in to a

unprecedented situation and I know the

ranking member

disagrees about the six hundred dollar

enhancement but there was an amendment

that was voted on in the United States

Senate people worried about what you

pointed out not wanting to

disincentivize people from seeking work

because they got paid born not to work I

agree with that concern we should never

pay people not to work we should try to

help them get back to work but as I

recall the vote on the cares Act was

unanimous in the United States Senate

so trying to suggest that we did not

support assistance through the

unemployment insurance system to workers

as false so I just want to make one

comment too about the Texas Workforce

Commission in my state that's the folks

who administer the the unemployment

insurance assistance they experience the

kind of things that you described

earlier a crush of applications and

they've done the best they could and

they've added personnel and resources in

order to try to be more responsive but I

wonder if our goal is to try to fight

this virus and then also at the same

time to fight the economic fallout

associated with it do you think there

are better ways

that incentivizing people not to work by

paying a more not to work than to work

are there better ways in your opinion to

help people get back in the workforce

well senator Cornyn first the cares Act

really was as you say an extraordinary

piece of bipartisan virtually unanimous

legislation the programs that you've

described I think are part of the reason

that workers are able to go to back work

back to work now they were kept in

contact with their employers up through

the Paycheck protection program they

were given financial support through the

unemployment insurance benefit which was

a very good benefit for a closing

economy savings right now that are at

our nearly nearly all-time highs now

that's in part because people have been

kept in their homes but it's also

because of the benefits that were made

available through the Treasury

Department and and and through the

unemployment insurance program going

forward I think the single best thing

for bringing workers back to work will

be taking the necessary steps to ensure

the economy revives before there can be

a job there needs to be a thriving

business the president had delivered us

an extraordinarily thriving economy with

record low unemployment with wages that

were rising and rising more quickly for

lower wage workers until the virus

struck so I think we keep those policies

in mind as we look to bring people back

to work to keep our economic base strong

and I know that there's also been

interested I see senator Portman I meet

behind me intently there's also been

interest in possibly providing a bonus

that might further incentivize people to

come back to work and that's something

else that's been discussed is another

way to get people back to work which

again is always our first preference

over unemployment when we can provide it

now by television this

senator stabenow right and they thank

you very much mr. chairman and Secretary

Scalia we thank you for being here this

is a very important discussion to be

having I do want to stress at the

beginning mr. chairman that certainly

the pandemic is not over the crisis for

families that challenges for small

businesses certainly aren't over and

this I hope is going to mean that we're

going to have additional action the

fourth floor the United States Senate to

be able to address the continuing needs

of Americans I also want to add to what

a ranking member Wyden said about the

discrepancy on the one hand mr.

secretary you're saying that so many

people are going back to work and it's

great people going back to work we

certainly all want people to go back to

work and people in businesses to reopen

but at the same time saying people going

back to work but there's $600 extra help

to workers and families survive the

crisis is stopping people from going

back to work so I think it's pretty

tough to argue both sides of that the

reality is I can tell you from Michigan

that the provisions in the pandemic

unemployment assistance program and the

additional $600 in weekly benefits have

really been a lifeline for workers and

families and employers in Michigan and

it's helping people put food on the

table and need basic needs and those

aren't just words that's a reality for

folks I also want to say that the

increase in weekly unemployment benefits

has helped employers in our state that

has signed up for work share and I want

to speak about that and get your

reaction to that because in Michigan an

employee that signs up for work share

can wheel on at their own pace reducing

employee hours by as little as 10% off

just 60 60 percent they the employer

pays part of the wage as you know the

unemployment system plays the other part

of it including the six

hundred dollars and it's created a real

incentive for people to go back to work

people want to work people in Michigan

work hard they want to go back to work

but there needs to be a bridge a way to

be able to do this and work share has

allowed our employers to retain their

talent save money on salary costs as

they are reopening and ensure that

employees have a livable wage a livable

wage so and that's over 1,400 businesses

so far in Michigan using work share as

well as over 70,000 jobs so mr.

secretary I wonder instead of debating

whether or not we should allow the

Kerris act to have strong employment

provisions or whether or not they should

expire I hope we would be talking about

work share to expand you know it's 25

states now and it needs to be expanded

so the barriers to more speak and

develop their own work to promote Thank

You senator first I I agree that

although Friday's jobs report was

exceptionally good news that the

economic challenges that Americans are

facing as a result of the coronavirus

are not over our job at the Labor

Department to help the states make sure

people get unemployment benefits is not

over nor is our job to work with the

states to help people return to work so

we very much appreciate that but that

said that report is one to be celebrated

for what it tells us about how robustly

and how early our economy began

reopening in May the $600 benefit as

I've said was a really important thing

that this committee Congress and the

President did to help workers during a

closing economy and I actually agree

that there are a number of reasons that

workers should prefer to be back at work

to work and

they're not you are reaching out to

businesses to let them know about the

this as an important way to be able to

bring people back to work while

maintaining a livable wage for workers

is that something you've been focused on

it is something that we've looked at

Senator ordinarily the concept behind

work share is it's a way of helping a

company that might have to have layoffs

keep people on a part-time basis but we

do agree it can be a way of bringing

people back I'll be it on a part-time

basis it might work well in a restaurant

for example that can't go to 100%

capacity we have been speaking to the

states about doing that and about

working with them to help set up those

programs but just to finish on the $600

benefit because I want to be clear it

was an important thing to do to help

workers back in March what we're talking

about now is Congress set it to expire

in July and my point is simply that

recognizes will be in a very different

place in July where the opportunity for

people to return to work will be far

greater so if I might one other thing I

want to ask and that relates to safety

in the workplace people want to go back

to work they have a right to know that

their workplace will be safe and in fact

if there is a concern from workers that

their workplace is not safe they should

not have to return until it is and I'm

very concerned that the guidelines

you've talked about our voluntary

guidelines they are not enforced they're

not requirements of the CDC or OSHA to

make sure that workplaces are safe

there's not strong enforcement and so

what we've seen over and over again is

people in workplaces getting Kovach 19

being infected health care workers over

38,500 health care workers that have

been infected 358 be more dead as a

result of that we know that a

meatpacking plants we have got over

3,000 people test positive and workers

that have done

because they're not requirements to keep

people safe in the workplace so people

just want two things they want to know

they will be paid for their work a

livable wage and they want to know it's

safe and so I would like very much from

you to tell us that you will enforce

safety standards for workers in this

country as they go back to work

absolutely we will we have put out

extensive guidance to help workers and

employers understand their rights and

obligations but we also have rules and

statutory authorities to enforce we are

conducting investigations and we are

responding to whistleblower complaints

to keep workers safe on the job ok

tonight senator thune before Senator

Thune starts I'm going to ask senator

Wyden that when soon's done would you

call on senator Menendez by virtue or by

TV I'm going to step out just a minute

senator Snowe Thank You mr. chairman and

thank you Secretary Scalia for taking

time to be here today this is important

oversight this is what we've talked

about hearing from those who are

implementing the many bills that we

passed what's working what's not working

how we can improve what we can do better

and I think that will shape and inform

and guide our decisions about future

action that Congress might take on the

forefront of the corona virus pandemic

we have passed now four pieces of

legislation if you count last week five

to address the corona virus medical

emergency and the economic fallout

associated with the pandemic these bills

are providing assistance to the American

people through economic impact payments

student loan deferments other programs

and tax incentives to help keep

businesses help businesses I should say

keep individuals employed and I think

that's has been working obviously we

there's no we can't start spiking the

ball yet but the the numbers that we saw

last week we're certainly encouraging

and I think evidence that some of these

programs particularly the Paycheck

protection program has had the desired

effect is keeping businesses functioning

and keeping workers employed the

secretary it's already been noted that

as

begin reopening their doors that many

are struggling to rehire furloughed

workers do the in disincentive created

by the $600 per week supplemental

unemployment payment though individuals

are supposed to be ineligible for

unemployment insurance if they turn down

an opportunity to return to work what

are some of the challenges that you

envision states facing and identifying

instances of individuals collecting

unemployment benefits after refusing an

offer to return to work

well senator if I could say first of all

I think there are many reasons that

workers will want to go back to work I

think all things equal people like being

in work especially perhaps after having

been at home for two to three months so

I think Americans are excited to get

back to work but as anybody who has

studied unemployment insurance programs

knows at the margins there is always

certain a certain population that

particularly if there's an opportunity

to have an equal or greater income not

working that there is a certain number

of people that will choose not working

and that's a challenge that is

recognized to exist and particularly as

we look toward a reopen the economy

after the expiration of the current

benefit in July it's something that

needs to be kept in mind we have been

reinforcing with the state senator from

very early on their obligation to ensure

that people who are on unemployment

certify that work no longer is available

to coordinate with employers that are

calling people back to work this is an

unusual circumstance where we've got

hundreds of employers at a time in a

state bringing workers back and so

that's an opportunity for the state

unemployment insurance agencies to take

note that the jobs are returning and the

workers can return to we'd like them to

keep an eye on that and then as I

mentioned we've been spending a lot of

time including working with our

inspector general to address the

possibility of fraud and the

unemployment insurance system employers

or

or supposed employers engage in it third

parties engage in it and sometimes

workers do too and that's something

we've been asking the states to look at

as well good thank you is what use well

no unemployment offices and states

across the nation continue to be

overwhelmed with claims even as the

Americans begin returning to work and in

addition state state's unemployment

systems are dated these two factors will

unlikely make any additional changes to

unemployment programs potentially overly

burdensome on state unemployment

agencies so could you explain a little

bit about what worked after passage of

the families first coronavirus response

act and the cares Act in terms of the

Department of Labor helping States adapt

to some of the system changes that are

required by these two laws sure fikret

provided us a billion dollars to give to

States to help with unemployment

insurance administration and they were

able to use that money for staffing and

also for technology enhancements I made

it a priority of the Department to

disperse those funds absolutely as

quickly as we could

and I think that we succeeded in doing

that and that did help the flexibility

they had to bring in staff was certainly

helpful to them they were in a period

where unemployment had been so low there

wasn't a need for much staff they needed

to bring people and quickly trained them

over time they were able to do that and

then as I mentioned there there were

technology problems we found that there

was a problem with a computer program we

run called icon which the states use we

fixed that over a weekend within three

or four days of learning of the problem

we were able to remedy that and that at

least tilt the state's deal with one of

the technological hurdles they faced as

I mentioned we also put them in touch

with our chief information officer and

with something called the u.s. digital

service to help them with their

technology as well I mr. chairman my

time expired I'd like to submit for the

record a question dealing with the gig

economy and gig economy workers and how

they've been dealing with this okay your

questions will be received now senator

Menendez

by TV or whatever you virtual or

whatever you call it Thank You mr.

chairman mr. secretary I share some of

the concerns that the ranking member

raised under Wyden I think it's fair to

say that if you have an amendment that

strips the $600 in every Republican

votes way that was your intention you

didn't want the $600 to be part of the

unemployment compensation but what I'm

concerned about is that it seems to me

that these rosy expectations that

everybody will be able to go back to

work are just not going to be realized

by August 1st I live in a state that is

having that has the second largest

number of kovat 19 deaths and infections

it is going through a stage reopening

that means that many businesses still

won't be open by then or they will be

opened with less capacity by then which

means that they will require less

workers by then and so if that's a

reality and we've seen where there has

been a premature opening in states that

in fact we with higher kovat infection

rates as a result of the premature

opening so when you know we have a

national unemployment rate of 13.3% when

unemployment rates among

african-americans is even higher 16.8

and when unemployment among Latinos is

even higher than that 17.6% what is the

administration's plan for August first

senator Menendez thank you for the

question I think part of what we'd like

to do is watch how things develop over

the weeks ahead one of the really

striking things about the nation's

experience with coronavirus has been how

swiftly things change and in the early

weeks unfortunately that was a series of

swift changes for the worse as the

health problems increased greatly and

and of course as we

I'm looking at we know there's going to

be a cliff on August 1st why should we

wait to address the cliff after August

1st then before it there's no question

that unemployment is still going to be

very high on August 1st no matter how

well we might desire you know it to be

different and so for all those workers

who either cannot get back to work

because their phase reopening has not

opened their their former place of

employment or the phase reopening has

only allowed for argument's sake 50% of

the employees to come back or there is

still a risk a reasonable risk a serious

risk of contraction of the infection

what are we gonna do on August 1st well

as I was saying things have changed

quickly for the worse for a period of

time but now we're seeing that's things

have the capacity to change quickly for

the better we know where the economy was

in mid May

we'll know more when our next jobs

report comes out in early July about the

state of the economy I think based

partly on that we can make an assessment

of what measures if any could be

necessary after that July 31st I

recognize that as you said we will not

get back to the extraordinary economy

the president Trump brought us of 3.5%

unemployment we won't get back there in

early fall but we mater know that we

will know a lot of my time is the

secretary I'm not going to let you

filibuster my time we are in the phases

of reopening how many coronavirus

related complaints as OSHA received I

understand it's 1,000 is that correct we

have received several thousand I don't

have the exact I'm sorry senator I'm

just try

complete my answers how many coronavirus

citations have been issued by ocean

we've issued one citation to date I

would add that a six-month limitations

period of course it's been less than six

months since the virus came here so we

have a number of cases that we are

investigating and if we find violations

we will certainly not hesitate to bring

a case this is something I've about a

number of talk to our head of OSHA about

a number of times that instead of

guidance you should be issuing emergency

temporary standards that are very clear

under OSHA and that would make a clear

example of what is acceptable to return

to work safely and what is not

acceptable and those who are forced to

return to work in a situation that is

unacceptable will have a valid claim but

5,000 is unbelievable senator to me by

TV Thank You mr. chairman mr. secretary

thanks for joining us today I just what

I just want to be clear about something

according to the University of Chicago

about 68 percent of people who are

unemployed today make more money being

unemployed than they do being employed

is it your view that that's a

disincentive you're going back to work

thank you for the questioner question

senator Toomey and I unfortunate wasn't

able to complete my answer at that point

to Senator Menendez that can function as

a disincentive again that's that's

recognized people who follow

unemployment insurance programs I would

point particularly to the study that the

Chairman received from the Congressional

Budget Office that looked at this

question in which projected that for the

second half of the year if the $600

benefit were retained five out of six

people on unemployment would be

receiving more than that the wage they

were likely to get from work and I don't

think any people many people design an

unemployment system that operated in

that way and then that's why it's

disguise

makes sense and we've had unemployment

before there's always some level of

unemployment we have never said let's

make sure that people are paid more not

to work than they get paid working we

hear everyone talking about how they

want to get everyone back to work but at

the same time some people are advocating

a system that we know discourages people

from going back to work and isn't it

also true that if people affected by

this disincentive don't go to work then

it's not only they who are not back at

work but the mere fact that they're not

at work means other people are unable to

go back to work just because the economy

is that much lower there's less business

being conducted so it doesn't it have a

knock-on effect throughout the economy

that's that's correct senator IgE we

want people who are not able to get to

work to have the safety net of an

unemployment program but you're right if

people have the opportunity to return

and don't it can function as a hindrance

not just to them but to the functioning

of what's a very very internet

intercondylar economy so let's let's if

we can focus on some great news because

there's a lot of great news actually one

is the fact that we've had quite a

number of states that have been quite

open for business some for many weeks

now this is not the case that the entire

country has closed down it's in fact

there's a long list of states that began

their reopening in April and early May

and isn't it true that there is no big

spike of kovat cases in the states that

have gone a long way towards reopening

in fact the data shows that the decline

in the new cases in over 19 has

continued overwhelmingly in these states

is that your understanding the reopening

seems to be going going well senator

it's it's very encouraging there are

spots we need to keep an eye on and we

need to be safe about how we go about it

but it's been very encouraging I the

other thing that's been very very

encouraging is the fact that back in

mid-april we had a week where we

produced two and a half

million new jobs when we thought we

might be shedding 6 7 8 9 million jobs

it was the exact opposite and isn't it

true that that mid-april number look I

don't have a crystal ball but I do know

that many states moved in the direction

of reopening since that time and so it

stands to reason if our economy was

producing two and a half million new

jobs in a week back in mid-april that

it's been probably producing new jobs

since then and then when I say new

obviously we're really talking about

people getting back to their own jobs

but isn't it it isn't there good reason

at least to be hopeful that we're

starting to really climb out of this and

starting to create the opportunities for

people to go back to earning their

livelihood absolutely senator one of the

numbers that has caught my attention in

both the report for the month of April

and the report for the month of May is a

very high percent of workers who are

unemployed but believe it's temporary in

our report for the month of May nearly

85% of workers who've been put out of

work said this is temporary I'm going

back to my job and I regarded as one of

our most important missions right now at

the Labor Department to help make that

happen and help make it happen safely

thanks very much Thank You mr. chairman

now I call on senator Cardin by TV I

believe Thank You mr. chairman and mr.

secretary thank you very much

let me share the concerns that have been

expressed in regards to worker safety to

me that's one of the most important

roles that you have is to make sure that

workers are safe secondly let me

underscore what I believe is our need to

act that the job is not done whether

it's unemployment insurance or whether

it's the PPP program and small business

a or whether it's the tax code itself we

know that we're going to need a

transition from where we are now that

when our economy is fully of performing

so I just urge us to show a sense of

urgency second a third

one just underscored appointed senator

stabenow said in regards to the short

time compensation rules that gives an

employer an opportunity to share work so

that he can keep her she can keep her

workforce intact during these tough

times

so as the secretary I would hope that

you would get some personal attention as

to how we can implement that this

provision because I do think it helps us

transition back to when our economy is

in performance I want to get your

response to a question I had from the

governor of Maryland in regards to

implementing this program Marilyn like

most states had IT challenges because of

trying to put the state program in with

the federal program but it was the

interstate connection Network icon that

did present some original challenges and

I believe you've indicated that there

were startup challenges in regards to

icon but in addition there's been

changes in guidance given by the federal

government which is required our states

to change their IT programs can you

share with us how you're working with

the states and the current status of

icon and the IT capacity of our states

in order to get timely decision-making

we still have a Maryland a lot of people

who are waiting for determinations what

is the current status of that first I

agree with you that our job is not done

in helping workers during this

challenging time and and in fully

restoring our economy and I agree as

well and the importance of worker safety

I think there's a difference as to means

perhaps but it is something that's been

of great great focus at at the

Department of Labor and by the way I

have personally engaged in the work

share subject and looking at ways that

we can encourage States to do that and

have assisted in that with respect to

the icon system which you mentioned yes

there was a problem that came to our

attention we fixed it within days I I've

had a couple conversations with Governor

Hogan who as you know is also chair the

National Governors Association he's

never expressed any concern to me about

changes to the guidance that we've

provided I'm not aware of any changes

that he might be referring to we have

put out a great deal of guidance I

suppose some of that guidance made

certain points clearer than they might

have been before but I think we've

largely been unswerving and unclear in

the guidance as we've given it although

we've provided refinements as they've

been requested and finally with respect

to the technology I appreciate that

that's been a challenge for the states

as you heard

ranking member Wyden say that was

something I cautioned the members of

this committee about when Kerr's was

written that the state unemployment

insurance computer systems are really

old they are bulky but we have tried to

help by making our chief information

officer available by making the u.s.

digital service within the executive

office of the president available to

States and we do believe that states

have found fixes have found workarounds

we've worked for example with Florida on

one which related to a problem they were

having with icon and and we also worked

with New Jersey on one that related to

ways that certain forms were being

submitted through their systems so I

think those systems are have been

problematic but I think they've been

enhanced in the last few weeks can I

follow up on the certification

requirements have you had concerns

expressed by states that the weekly

certification to make sure that the

recipient is not getting benefits in

more than one state has cause undue

challenges to the states in implementing

the program senator we have had some

states that have expressed interest in

doing away with the certification

requirements and we understand the

desire that they've had to get payments

out quickly but there is a balance to be

struck with with respect to the

integrity of these programs and we felt

it's important to retain that

certification requirement as one check

against the fraud against the system

that that we know has occurred there has

been very substantial fraud

learned against the unemployment

insurance systems of the states during

implementation of cares and so we do

need to keep that in mind as well

senator Cassidy Thank You mr. chairman

mr. secretary again thanks for the hard

work you and your department have done

I'm one of the advantages if you will of

speaking after many other people you've

noted concern Republicans have been

concerned at $600 a week in which people

are earning more than they are paid

would encourage them not to work and

that has negative effects for the person

negative effects for society that's

known but it's been roughly a kind of

Republican Democrat with Democrats

apparently pooh-poohing that just to see

if there could be an objective analysis

aside from the report from Gao or CBO

I'm sorry I found a quote from Professor

Larry Summers who was Obama's I think a

director of something or other

everybody knows who professor summers is

government assistance programs

contribute to long term unemployment but

providing an incentive and the means not

to work each unemployed person and note

this term has a reservation wage the

minimum wage which he or she insists on

getting before accepting a job

unemployment insurance and other social

assistance programs increased that

reservation wage causing an unemployed

person to remain unemployed later again

Larry Summers whose esteemed and from

Harvard and with Obama etc now let me

ask you sir

what would be if the $600 a week

pandemic unemployment benefit is

extended through the end of the year

what do you estimate the reservation

wages that a business must offer to

someone on unemployment to convince them

that they should return to work and is

this a wage most businesses would be

able to match or even bear if they're a

small business thank you for the

question on this topic which obviously

is of great interest to members of the

committee senator if I could I'd like to

be clear again that the $600 benefit

that was provided in the Kerr's Act was

one of the really very important good

things done in that Act it was the right

thing to do at that time in a closing

economy and I am mindful of the concerns

and I

members of this committee expressed them

at the time that that might result in

some people turning down work we've made

a priority of the department working

with the states to focus on the existing

protections in the law to make sure that

doesn't happen however much of the

discussion that I think we're having now

is looking ahead as your question does

not to what we put in place but what if

anything will be done when the $600

benefit expires on the deadline that the

Congress agreed to set of late late July

I have not read professor summers piece

obviously is a highly respected

economist it's another piece I don't

think he's saying it right now maybe

he's recanted but but but you're correct

at the margins again for some number of

employees and I'm not talking about the

millions of hardworking Americans who

would rather be at work but for some

number of employees you'll have to set

that wage higher so you have a sense of

what that would been I I don't I don't

have a sense of what it would be but it

would be probably appreciably above a

hundred percent of what the work only

anybody's criticizing to make an

irrational individual decision if I make

more money not working I'm not going to

work that's a rational decision it's

just we know that working actually

statistically is good for people so I

don't think you know I'm not I'm not

asking you to do that now some folks

have said wait a second since we can't

continue this forever is there a way to

gradually scale it down so that yes we

provide support but we don't you

encourage people to return back to the

workforce good for the family good for

the individual good for society but I'm

I'm struck what you've said about the

inadequacy of state information systems

or state unemployment systems capable of

a system that would gradually scale down

the amount of benefits received from

month to month I believe that the states

have made progress in their systems from

where we were in March and I was

explaining to ranking member Wyden this

is something that I would be interested

in exploring further with the committee

I think there may be a greater capacity

now than there was

in March for the systems to scale or for

the Treasury Department for example to

assist in that that was an approach that

we had raised at the time that cares was

being considered that it might be a way

for the the Treasury Department to

function as part of the distribution

system there also as you know senator

has been discussion of perhaps having a

smaller but if it's not $600 but perhaps

250 I've heard that but the question is

could you scale it down let me move on

to my last question I'm almost out of

time

we've there's been a lot of layoffs the

job numbers actually we're great but on

the public sector we continue to have

people laid off and as it turns out many

of those are in the education system now

when you go back it's gonna be clear

there'll be smaller classrooms with more

assistants in order to maintain to help

the children maintain social distancing

etc senator Menendez and I have put

together a smart Act which would help

these state and local governments rehire

these employees but you know how many of

these 1 million are so state and local

employees in education who've lost their

job or on temporary furlough or they

expect to be rehired or they've been let

go entirely do you have any sense of

that I don't have those figures I could

get them for you government jobs were

the really were the one category of jobs

with very substantial losses in May I

think it was about 600,000 jobs actually

and many many of those jobs were in k-12

education and in college so I could try

to get more detailed data but I know

that many of the jobs lost in May were

in that sector but I'm also confident

that those are probably all jobs that

will come back as schools reopen I yield

back

senator Brown by TV thank you thank you

mr. chairman we're all learning the

technology here thank you so much

actually thank you for being here

ranking member Wyden and I along with

our 22 of our colleagues sent you a

letter dated May 14th outlining concerns

about UI benefits being delayed in so

many of our states that's $600 and

point out in spite of my all my

Republican colleagues on this committee

talking about how they'd like that

benefit now they all the one voted again

voted the only amendment that Senator

McConnell allowed on the floor to the

entire the entire cares Act was to wipe

away the unemployment benefit that's

$600 so they can take credit for doing

it but now they're against it and just

something to remember who's on the side

of workers but anyway we we outline we

saw too many states too many people were

not getting the benefits they were

delayed and bar our letter asked you'd

undertake a critical survey of state

unemployment programs so we can fix the

problems that caused the delays and make

sure they don't happen again would you

mr. secretary commit to conducting that

survey that 2324 members of the Senate

asked providing policy recommendations

and responding in a timely fashion

senator Brown thank you for that letter

I believe it gave us a mid-july return

date it asked for certain information

within 60 days because I don't have the

letter in front of me I'm I'm hesitant

to commit that we will provide every

piece of detailed information that was

sought but we certainly will respond to

that letter and I think that you and I

share and all of a share and an interest

in making sure that that we can fix this

on this UI system which has had a

workout that nobody expected to have but

also a UI system that has gotten pretty

out no when it now dated over the years

so thank you for that second question

the national unemployment rates is over

13% the unemployment rate for Latinas

workers is almost 18 and almost 17 for

black workers if we phase out the

unemployment insurance program in the

cares Act including the $600 at weekly

benefit which ends in July do you expect

brown black and brown workers to be

disproportionately affected by that

policy decision yes or no

senator Brown I do agree with you on the

state unemployment insurance systems

'men significant progress made but as we

look back at lessons learned and things

that we might want to fix going forward

I do

that's an area that is worth further

consideration how they can be enhanced

in terms of the job prospects for

african-americans Hispanic Americans

going forward that will depend in part

on different parts of the companies

countries at reopening schedule

different sectors of the economy what we

do know is the economy that we had

before which President Trump was again

mr. chairman would you gavel the witness

please we've heard that we've heard the

Trump commercial over and over how great

the economy was even though very 40% of

Americans didn't have $400 in their

pockets even in the great growth of the

Trump economy which was not nearly as

good as as the secretary likes to keep

saying it's clear that brown and black

workers will be disproportionately

affected I mean that was a simple yes or

no and I got a personal for the

president's re-election next question is

chairman some of argued that that extra

that the $600 is going to keep workers

from going back to work it's pretty

clear takeaway here the companies they

work for didn't pay them enough to begin

with so mr. mr. secretary if we raise

the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour

would you expect the number of workers

who receive more in UI than they did in

their paychecks to decrease that's a

pretty easy yes sir now we raised a $15

will that make more workers make more on

the job than they're getting in UI

not necessarily the payment right now

with the $600 plus up averages between

fifty and fifty five thousand dollars a

year on unemployment insurance that's

substantial except if I could if I could

finish if I could finish in fact the

$600 plus up alone is substantially more

than the minimum wage on an annualized

basis but you have in addition to that

the state payments so unfortunately I

don't think that

a helpful compare I can see mr.

secretary I can see that what a good

lawyer were you were as a corporate

lawyer but the fact is it doesn't go

it's not 55 39 weeks is the maximum but

let's put that aside I want to say how I

was I was analyzing the benefits sera

Menendez when he what he how rageous it

wasn't he pointed out that 5,000

complaints from workers terrified

they're going to get caught on a virus

on the job and then have to go home and

potentially then go home and potentially

expose their families and you've only

done one citation I would like to ask

you to submit to this committee in my

office the list of all on-site in-person

inspections as a result of a complaint

received by Federal OSHA I would like

you to submit a running total as you do

these inspections I mean we know what

the president said when we saw what

happened in Sioux Falls with hundreds of

people things diagnosed with coronavirus

and they at the slaughterhouse and the

president using the defense production

act ordered them back to work nothing

about worker safety nothing about

slowing down the line nothing about food

safety and that I think tells the story

I'll just close with this mr. Chairman I

we're in the midst of pandemic we have a

present administration to calm workers

essential but treats them like they're

expendable the president said last week

the unemployment numbers are quote

stupendous in reality they're the worst

since World War two in Ohio they're

opening up eviction courts actually in

arenas if you can imagine that we've

learned from the DOL in this hearing is

issued one citation one citation showing

how much they really care about workers

they'd like to go over the weekend said

there isn't any institutional racism and

policing I don't know how he figures

that we shouldn't be cutting off the

safety net workers need to pay their

bills certainly not this administration

to continue its form either long central

of work senator Bennet miss mr. Shannon

I'm sorry but if I could respond to that

you may respond to it before you respond

to it or no go ahead and respond to it

and then I said we have then dr. Bennett

we are investigating every single

complaint that we receive from workers

about unsafe conditions pertaining to

covet

we have a six-month limitations period

and and when we find violations we will

indeed bring citations if we find them

we have the tools needed to do that we

also have as I said a six-month

limitations period so so we will we will

do that work that said I think it's a

real disservice for people to suggest

that OSHA is not taking this seriously

employers need to know that indeed we

are and they do need to protect their

workers and we want workers to know that

if they have complaints please do bring

them to us if they think that they've

been subject to retaliation for raising

health concerns please do bring them to

us so I I want to correct any impression

that people listening might have that

OSHA is not indeed taking these matters

very seriously

anybody can correct me if I'm wrong but

I heard senator Brown say that the

president used the defense production

act to order the workers back to work he

ordered the companies to get the company

up and running the only way you're going

to get workers will go back to work if

they realize that they aren't going to

go into a death chamber when they go

back to work and that was a company

workers are going to go back if they

think they'll lose their job and won't

get their unemployment cuts well he

didn't crack me but go ahead senator

Brown Thank You mr. chairman thank you

Thank You Secretary Scalia for being

here we appreciate it and I I'm grateful

for the and the response to Senator

Brown's question I think it's critically

important because if people don't think

they're gonna be safe if they don't

think health it's going to be in force

at work they're not gonna go back to

work and what I heard you say secretary

Scalia is that you want OSHA on the job

you want people to know that that that

they can file complaints that they've

been mistreated at work in this context

and the your report to the committee

the work that OSHA is going to do has

not yet done he's gonna do I think

that's very important to all of us and

we want to know it we want to know what

the facts really are because it's the

only way people are going to go back to

work I

I think it's just clear that we have we

are facing an unprecedented health care

challenge in this pandemic and that has

created an unprecedented economic crisis

in our country one in six workers in

this country are unemployed by the way I

also would say about the Trump economy

and all this stuff the reality is the

average monthly job creation under

Donald Trump is lower than it was under

President Obama for them for the for the

first three years of the Trump

administration so rewriting that history

here I don't think is all that helpful

but in this moment mr. chairman to the

ranking member I'd say thanks to this

committee

we've helped workers in two major ways

first we expanded unemployment benefits

to cover almost 10 million self-employed

workers gig workers and others who are

usually left behind and I hope won't be

left behind in the future

second we added $600 per week as we've

been debating here together to the

normal unemployment benefit for all 30

million workers claiming benefits and

had we not done this without this tens

of millions of families across the

country from Iowa to Oregon through

Colorado would have seen their incomes

dropped by 60% 70% or more and we

prevented that from happening

and I know we're hearing criticisms

today about the benefits I just want to

be very clear about what it's done until

now the $600 weekly benefit has

prevented a level of severe hardship

that it's almost impossible to

comprehend even in this hearing room it

paid the rent and prevented evictions

it's kept food on the table so families

don't go hungry it's kept the lights on

and paid for internet so kids can have

access to learn and it's been an

essential lifeline to families in the

middle of the worst economic crisis

since the Great Depression

even President Trump seems to recognize

this because he's running campaign ads

touting these benefits

but even as he's running the ads he's

also threatening to take them away and I

think that would be a profound mistake

right now 17% of American families can't

cover three months of basic expenses

without the extra benefits that number

would rise to 43% today nearly 10% of

Americans can't make rent without the

extra benefits that could rise to 30%

think of what that would do to our

economy so if we let these benefits

expire at the end of July mr. secretary

I'd argue that we're gonna throw tens of

millions of people who rely on them into

a financial crisis family by family all

across the United States of America miss

are you called expanded unemployment

benefits a quote important short-term

measure adopted in these extraordinary

times to alleviate the economic impact

of the virus on working Americans I

think you'll agree probably with me mr.

chairman that we're not going to create

twenty million more jobs in the next two

months do you think we are senator I

wouldn't predict 20 million jobs in the

next two months what I do predict and

what we've already observed is a very

different economy than existed when

Kerr's was enacted and remember this

body itself said a July 31st expiration

for that been right I think where we sit

now is the recovery and the job market

has actually happened more quickly so

then Congress expected in late March

well let's hope that's right but I think

that it's probably safe to say at least

10 million people will be unemployed at

the end of July with no jobs to return

to I mean that does that feel to you

like an extraordinary circumstance along

the lines you you describe the

importance of the unemployment benefit

in the in the last downturn I think that

10 million unemployed Americans is 10

million more Americans without a job

than we want and does make sense for us

to consider particularly as we get

closer to that July 31st to date but

what measures may be necessary but if I

could just underscore again

the size the benefit as valuable as it's

been as important as it's been it is

great in Massachusetts you are able with

this 600 hour plus up to obtain $75,000

a year that's the annualized income that

you get on an employment in

Massachusetts right now in the state of

Oregon its annualized as it potentially

$65,000 a year senator brown asked me

about the $15 minimum wage and as I said

the $600 weekly benefit by itself is

actually just slightly more than that 15

our minimum wage but on top of that you

get the state unemployment benefits so

it has been a very important system but

as we look long-term I think there are

few people that would suggest that you

should have an unemployment system long

term that pays $75,000 I got it I've got

my last minute taken away from me mr.

chair and so if I could just take 30

seconds to finish my point 30s I think

that's all I'll take in answer to

Senator Cassidy's question mr. secretary

you said you thought the state state

departments were now up to the challenge

of may be dealing with a benefit that

ratcheted down over time you know I

believe that it was a mistake for us to

tie it to a date certain I don't think

that makes sense I think what we should

do is tie it to the economic conditions

that the country is facing and that that

our workers are facing so that when the

economy when the unemployment is going

up the the benefit is going down when

the when the when the unemployment when

we're doing worse the opposite would be

true and I hope you'll work with the

committee to design something rational

like that because having it just end on

a date certain is going to be very cold

comfort to two to millions of people in

this country thank you for that Center

I'd welcome the opportunity to continue

that Congress thank you thank you mr.

secretary before I call on senator

Casey's next I want to remind people

that during the debate on the cares act

senators ass and others put forward an

amendment to the bill not to block the

extra $600 payments but instead to tell

States they'd have to make sure that

they didn't pay people more for not

working

than working state said it would have

taken them months to implement so

clearly states were hit with an

overwhelming shock that was difficult

for their systems to deal with but no

one proposed to block these extra

payments entirely mr. chairman just if I

could the states were incapable at that

time of doing what SAS was talking about

which is why and you were in the

negotiations we had to go with a rough

justice approach and it is why we have

tried to extricate from the secretary

this afternoon an answer to the question

about whether the states would be

capable of doing a hundred percent wage

replacement now accurately and he has

not indicated that was the case so I

just want to and I know we're gonna be

debating this I just wanted to set the

record straight okay now we go to

Senator Casey by TV mr. chairman thanks

very much for this hearing and I want to

thank Secretary Scalia for his presence

at the hearing mr. secretary all have a

question for you regarding workplaces in

koban 19 but let me start with some of

the data which we cannot escape and we

have to continue to bear in mind if we

approach these challenges when I

consider just my home state of

Pennsylvania here's some of the data the

case number now is more than 76 thousand

four hundred Kovan 19 cases the death

number has gone above 6,000 as of today

the last number was six thousand

fourteen people dead from Koba 19 in

addition to that the unemployment 580

are extraordinary more than 15 percent

of our 15 percent unemployment rate in

Pennsylvania 15.1 what that equates to

is nine hundred and seventy six thousand

people unemployed he never saw those

numbers as bad as the Great Recession

was ever saw those numbers at that time

now I know with

- both Ovid 19 and the economic

devastation it flows in its weight that

we've passed

I guess it's technically five bills now

- by consent and 3/3 therefore actually

we had a vote on those five bills were

we're helping in a lot of ways but more

accidents needed by the Congress

unemployment benefits had a very

positive impact on people's lives the

$600 per per week additional payment by

one estimate replaced 30% of total

private sector wages and salaries lost

just in the month of April so a huge

impact on people's lives benefits as you

know are about to end at the end of July

July 31st so the benefits end of the

costs don't in the cost for mortgage the

cost for food

the cost for rent so many other costs in

the life of a family do not end on July

31st and I think it's about time we

started to say that more and bear that

in mind as we hear senators talking

about ending this program in an

arbitrary fashion with no approach no

strategy to replace it or to mitigate

the damage and and more broadly many in

the Senate majority want to stop

legislating altogether on Cobin 19 and

on jobs now some have said they want to

help state local governments there's

some bipartisan action on a few issues

but in terms of the substantial help

that our states still need in our

communities and our families need it

seems like the Senate majority wants to

walk away from that responsibility I

don't think that's what the American

people want and especially they don't

want to suspend another month voting on

nominations instead of Cova 19 and the

jobs crisis I think we can do better

than that now just back to the

unemployment rate we know that as much

as the unemployment rate is is high

across the nation at more than 13

percent its especially high for African

American almost 17 percent for African

Americans

and at last pound for Hispanics 17.6

which just happens to be the same

unemployment rate that's in my home

county Lackawanna County Pennsylvania so

there's a lot of pain out there so as we

talk in this academic fashion about

ending a program we should acknowledge

and be responsive to the devastation out

there we should not cut off unemployment

insurance with no effort to mitigate the

damage the economic devastation so many

families are facing so we ought to be

talking about providing pandemic premium

pay for frontline workers whose risk

risk their lives all of that should be

part of our debate now I want to ask the

Secretary of questioned about a letter

we sent him in May mr. secretary we sent

to a letter to clarify whether workers

have been offered their jobs back would

lose unemployment insurance if they

refused to work in a circumstance where

the workplace they would return to is in

fact unsafe will the Department of Labor

issued guidance to States to clarify

that workers cannot and not lose

unemployment insurance if the workplace

is not safe in following CDC or OSHA

requirements Senator Casey it's good to

have a chance to speak to you again

there's a lot in that question just a

couple quick comments and I'll answer

your question I I agree with you it's

it's very important that we remain

mindful of the impact that the

coronavirus has had on workers and on

unemployment that's a focus of the staff

at the Labor Department every minute of

every working day and those have been

long days too and I do think it's

important to remember that as much as we

want our unemployment system to function

as effectively as possible even better

is a job and and so our long-term goal

really does need to be getting our

economy back to where it was it was so

vibrant through the first week of March

and there was actually a piece in The

Wall Street Journal just came out today

speaking of how the economy under the

president which was affected by

coronavirus who is quote the best

african-american job market on record is

how the journal described it and that's

what the numbers show so but we want to

we want to get back there in terms of in

terms of your question senator the

precise circumstances in which a worker

can decline to go to work because he or

she believes the workplace is unsafe is

something the state's determined

according to their law that requirement

is it that it be suitable work suitable

work has to be safe and so the states

are to judge that there certain

parameters and but I think if suddenly

if the worker has facts telling him or

her that the workplace is unsafe because

there are unmitigated kovat exposures we

would think that the worker should not

have to go back until that workplace is

safe one of the programs created under

the cares act for unemployment insurance

so-called P

PUA the endemic unemployment assistance

that is a federal program and you have

responsibilities beyond that when you

oversee unemployment insurance more

broadly across the nation don't you feel

that you don't you believe that you have

a responsibility to give guidance on

something as fundamental as the safety

of a workplace in the middle of a

pandemic I just think that's that has to

be an obligation you have I don't

understand why why do you think you can

just pass that off to the States we have

given it which I've given it and it is a

sort of also state partnership okay

senator Warner Thank You mr. chairman

and mr. secretary thank you for

appearing here tonight I know there's

been a lot of discussion about the

on the unemployment assistance during

the pandemic but I think one area has I

hope there is bipartisan consensus and I

appreciate the Chairman and Senator

Wyden's good work on this and that was

trying to make sure during the pandemic

that we covered all workers that we all

now realize how many workers

traditionally were not covered by

unemployment in my state in Virginia six

hundred and eighty-three thousand

workers that were freelancers 1099 errs

independent contractors gig workers had

not been covered matter of fact as a

nationwide basis about 20 million

workers we're not covered by traditional

UI and I do hope one area that we can

agree that we need to make sure as we

you know that kind of the economy is not

changing we're not going away from

freelancers gig workers 1099 errs how do

we make sure they can't get some of

these benefits and thank goodness under

the leadership of this committee we did

that because as well about eighteen and

a half million Americans qualify or

traditional unemployment over ten

million Americans qualified for the PUA

the expansion and I think that lifeline

has made a difference from frankly

economic ruling and again I hope mr.

secretary that you would you would

believe that that type of the program

needs to be continued one thing mr.

secretary I wanna I want to drill down

on is something we've been trying to get

an answer from if we all agree that the

intent of Congress with this expansion

was under PD way was to cover all

workers during this unprecedented time I

want to make sure that you would confirm

something we still had some lack of

clarity on and that is that freelancers

including those who work from home with

lost work or domestic workers who

obviously work in the home but who have

lost work that both of those categories

are covered by the PDA Senator Warner

thank you for your attention to this set

of issues which I know is very important

to you both from the con

texts of the current crisis in

unemployment and more broadly I do agree

that one of the really terrific things

that was done in the cares Act you know

we're we're hearing a lot of

disagreements today but the cares Act

was the product and reflection of a

whole lot of really great agreement and

one of those great agreements was

covering gig workers there are other

programs something called do a disaster

unemployment assistance that can also

provide coverage but we've never done

anything on a scale such as that I think

it was a very good thing to do in the

cares Act with respect to your questions

I always need to be careful in

addressing specific hypotheticals about

particular jobs but I I do believe that

the freelancer is something that we have

addressed I know there's been concern

about that if somebody was making a

living as a for example as a freelance

journalist and was for some reason just

unable to continue that for one of the

qualifying reasons that Congress put

forth in the Kerr's Act then I would

expect that person to be covered by this

what we're calling this to a benefit for

the self-employed if they're if they're

not covered by the ordinary they're

probably not and probably the journalist

could have been somebody and that

journalist could have been somebody who

was working at home so they were fully

supported oh thank you for that

clarification and with the caveat I

think that's correct senator if you get

directed domestic worker and fairly

brief because I've got one other point

I'd like to pick same answer senator

with the caveat I think that would

probably be the case if one of those

qualifying conditions was met although

you know domestic workers may actually

be covered employees under state law but

I think there's likely to be coverage

one way or the other well I I know I've

been working with a group the Domestic

Workers Alliance and I think they'll be

happy to hear your your comments and

look forward to trying to work to make

sure that this area at least where we

ought to make sure these 20 million

Americans nicely these ten million have

already qualified in this pandemic this

expansion of this coverage ought to be

maintained and I'll just take my last 28

seconds and

and I know I've tried to make the case

do you mr. secretary but make the case

to my colleagues on both sides of the

aisle I think we need more

experimentation with these portable

benefits benefits to attach the

individuals that move with them from gig

to gig there were five members on this

committee that embraced a

experimentation or portable benefits

that we would try a variety of models

and I'd particularly say to my

Democratic colleagues there's a number

of models that come out of out of your

Sweden Belgium Denmark again model where

these portable benefit systems are

actually administered by labor unions

and have become the methodology for them

to move into the 21st century this is a

you know this is one area where there's

bipartisan I hope mr. chairman we can

continue to work on it in the next bill

and that we go ahead and expand

experimentation of our portable benefits

because like I think this is we're

looking at the workforce of the future

Thank You senator Hansen by TV well

thank you mr. chair and ranking member

Wyden Thank You Secretary Scalia for

being here today as Congress responds to

the impacts of kovat 19 one of the main

issues that I hear about from New

Hampshire constituents is delays in

receiving unemployment benefits theater

is one of several states still working

to fully implement the expanded

unemployment benefits under the cares

Act if issues arise I hope that the

Department of Labor will continue to

support this data and help ensure that

New Hampshire workers quickly receive

the support that they need

my first question as Secretary is about

the unemployment benefits we've been

discussing as our country has responded

to : 19 extended unemployment insurance

has helped to ensure that workers have

the financial support that they need

when measures such as stay home orders

are in place as Senator Casey mentioned

unemployment benefits also support

workers who themselves are sick or at an

increased risk of the virus helping them

afford to stay out of the work place to

protect themselves and others so

secretary Scalia yes or no do you agree

that during this unprecedented time

unemployment

Chance has been an important tool to

support public health strategies to

contain the spread of kovat 19 I do

agree with that Senator Hassan and in

fact in the first half of March we

issued guidance document even before

paid leave was made available for

employees of small employers in enfagrow

we issued a guidance document

demonstrating to the states how the

unemployment insurance system could be

available to assist workers who had Co

vid or were caring for somebody who did

so I I do agree with that and just one

last point of the first question I

understand we understand the

difficulties that states have had

processing benefits we genuinely are

here to help we have been in touch with

all of the states but if we can do more

please have the folks in your state

system let us know and we'll do all we

can well thank you and I just wanted to

follow up on your answer about the

unemployment benefit being a public

health tool because despite what we

think the economy may or may not look

like in July we do know that this

pandemic will still be with us and we do

know that that will prevent critical

challenges for our workforce as they try

to balance this new world we Senator

Stabenow talked about the capacity for

employers to use unemployment benefits

to supplement part-time work which may

in fact be very important for families

where childcare is still not available

at the beginning or school may not be

available especially if we don't provide

more state and local age as they face

budget crunches so I just want us all to

keep that in mind

um I wanted to ask you to secretary

about the issue of expanded paid leave

for many workers and you just referenced

it a bit ago in addition to expanded

unemployment insurance congress also

enacted emergency expanded paid leave

for many workers this leave includes two

weeks of paid sick leave and up to 10

weeks of additional paid leave for

parents whose children schools have

closed access to paid sick leave is an

important

well to encourage workers to stay home

at they are sick without losing their

paychecks or possibly their jobs the

Department of Labor is tasked with

ensuring that workers are aware of their

rights to pay leave but data has

indicated that many workers who are

eligible for this leave are unaware of

this new program secretary Scalia what

additional actions load the Department

of Labor take to improve its outreach

and education to workers regarding their

access to emergency paid leave benefits

senator I will take a look at what

guidance we have on that currently I

will tell you that when Fricka was

enacted we engaged in a very intense

campaign to provide guidance answer

questions for workers and employers so

that they were familiar with the program

we put out a series of five or maybe

even six frequently asked questions to

provide guidance we featured it

prominently on the website of our wage

our division and we also very swiftly

put in place rules to implement that

benefit I will note recovered nearly six

hundred fifty thousand dollars for

workers and to approximately 500 workers

in our implementation of that program

mr. secretary and mr. chair I'm going to

ask for your indulgence your question

and he can answer it and then we'll go

on to the next one we still got ten

people here so that time my question is

this and and it's one week and I will

follow up with the secretary after the

hearing but I just want to put the

question on the record is that we still

need to have the Department of Labor do

more because people are not aware of

their paid sick leave rights under the

legislation and I would like to follow

up with the secretary about the issue of

workforce training because since 2001

state formula grant funding levels under

the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity

Act

have fallen by 40% as adjusted for

inflation so we're going to need to

think about how our workforce systems

can help get workers who have been

dislocated it by kovat 19 back to work

and what kind of additional federal

resources will be necessary to support

these workforce training and

reemployment activities Thank You mr.

chair and Thank You mr. senator Enzi

yeah I'm sorry mr. chairman just to

respond quickly again we had a very

extensive set of documents to explain to

the American people how that program

will work I'd certainly be happy to look

at it again and with respect to help to

dislocated workers in addition to all

the things I've mentioned earlier we

actually have made dislocated worker

grants to 40 states in an amount of

approximately 225 million dollars

Senator Enzi Thank You mr. chairman

thank you for doing this hearing and I

want to thank Secretary Scalia for being

willing to answer questions I appreciate

all the comments that there have been

about the six hundred dollars per week

being might be and why and all the all

the discussion on that of the Thunderer

Grassley you started off with a couple

of letters that you had received and one

was from an employer one was from an

employee her but they're both about the

employees there are also some employers

out there and small business were making

less than their former employees were

are on unemployment I'm creative of what

the effort that's under Portman is

making to make some changes in that and

appreciate all the answers that you've

given on that I'll maybe submit a couple

of questions but I'll change the subject

to something we haven't talked about yet

it's concerning to me that my state of

Wyoming was born fraud

how are you advising staying States to

prevent fraud and abuse by foreign

entities is is there a department plan

to recover any of the fraudulent

payments does

Congress helped with it need to help

with these efforts Thank You senator NC

fraud on the unemployment system has

always been a problem I'm pleased to say

that in 2019 for the first time since it

had been monitored we got our improper

payments rate as it's called below that

10% target so we were on a good

trajectory but the coronavirus obviously

has upended so many different things and

that included the risk of fraud in the

system there there has been fraud as you

say center there's been highly

sophisticated criminal enterprises that

have engaged in fraud in the system we

are working with our Inspector General

we've been working with other federal

agencies we've been working with the

states there's something called the UI

integrity Center that the states are

working with that Center sponsors

something called a data hub for state

information sharing so there are many

different mechanisms in place and

Congress did make 26 million dollars

available to our inspector general

indicators act to address this problem

we will continue to work on it hard we

know it's real you know it's in some

cases interfering with the delivery of

benefits to people who are entitled to

them so we will stay on it thank you for

the wide range of things that you had to

cover pointed out in this hearing thanks

for the great job you do Thank You mr.

chairman senator Carver yeah I like to

stay mr. secretary welcome I want to

stay on the point senator Enzi just

raised I I spoke last week with our own

Secretary of Labor at the Department of

Labor in Delaware and the issue of fraud

came up he mentioned foreign involvement

and he talked about folks a criminal

element in Nigeria I think is what he

said and that that's correct the amount

of money that may have been stolen

literally by these folks have very

pretty smart I was in the billions of

dollars and I would just ask just a sort

of a follow-up question with

with respect to what Mike Enzi was just

raising but I think you've said this

would you commit to provide Gao and

again the agency Inspector General and

others with the information they need to

conduct effective oversight of the

response respecting whether was with

respect to UI benefit we will certainly

cooperate with any investigations that

are being conducted as to that we are as

I said working closely with our

Inspector General I actually sent a

joint or a memo to all Labor Department

employees a joint with the inspector

general about a month or so maybe six

weeks ago emphasizing the importance of

integrity at the department generally

but the inspector general I also spoke

particularly about the importance of

integrity in guarding against fraud in

connection with the cares Act

unemployment insurance benefits you're

right it's a there's a Nigerian ring

evidently among others we received a

letter from the unemployment insurance

commissioner in the Washington State

just the other day they believe they've

recovered hundreds of millions that had

had been misappropriated through this

criminal enterprise but there are still

very significant challenges I work with

Gao and the yep please do I urge you to

work with Gao as well thank you very

much a quick question the unemployment

rate in our country is as high as you

know very high the unemployment rate for

folks who happen to be black or Hispanic

is even higher and any ideas and some

some specific steps that the

administration is taking to address this

particular issue that's particularly

challenge well as I mentioned earlier

until the coronavirus hit we had hit

all-time lows or unemployment for

African Americans for Hispanic Americans

there were also steps that the president

took that were very important to him

including establishing Opportunity Zones

in impoverished neighborhoods the first

step back which was an important piece

of criminal justice reform but among

other things made it easier for people

who had been in the criminal justice

system to

back into the workplace those will make

remain priorities I know how proud the

president was of the job opportunities

that his economy was providing the to me

I'm good actually very important goal is

to secretary I'm gonna ask you to stop

talking all right I have another

question thank you just answer your

question yeah you more than answered my

question thank you the workforce our

retraining this is a big issue when I

used to be a formal governor I do

customer calls used to do them every

week where's the customers business

large and small and asked him how are

you doing how are we doing what can we

do to help and I this was a time when we

had maybe 150 hundred six million people

going to work on a given day and we had

six or seven million jobs for nobody was

showing up because the folks who were

the jobs that were needed the kind of

skills were needed were not inherent and

the people who are looking for work and

then the situation's been exacerbated

now others have asked you about this but

but I've got done a lot of thought to

workforce training we trained it could

be oh gosh what we have something

Delaware where we actually trains kids

right right out of all right through

high school for jobs that our career is

going to be be out there we have a labor

unions work with apprenticeship programs

we have we worked with a Deltek core

technical communities and colleges so so

forth but there's got to be you know all

these businesses that are gone they're

gone they're not coming back the folks

who work there don't have a job to come

back to they may have skills but they

don't have the skills that are needed

for the jobs that are out there and we I

think we need a thoughtful a

comprehensive approach that involves not

just the federal government not just

state governments for community colleges

and other nonprofits to actually focus

on how do we help for these folks retool

and retrain for the jobs that are going

to be there in the months and years to

come

the any thoughts there please I agree

with much and maybe everything you said

I think that workforce training is

important we learned a great deal in the

economy that we had

one of the things that I really

appreciated in that economy was the

businesses were reaching out more to

train workers apprenticeships we're

thriving community colleges were playing

a really important role so we learned a

lot that I think we can now apply going

forward because I do think that although

we will bring back to work

millions and millions of workers who

were put out of work by the virus there

will be others who don't go back to

those jobs and I think we will want to

apply some of the lessons learned and

you describe some of them will want to

apply some of those lessons weren't

going forward I'd be happy to talk to

you better further that'd be great

thanks it much ok mr. Portman senator

Portman Thank You mr. chairman and let

me say first of all to my colleague and

friend senator Carper I couldn't agree

with him more we already had a need for

a worker retraining because we didn't

have the kind of skills we needed to

fill the jobs in our economy and now

we're going to need even more so the

JOBS Act is a good way to do that allow

Pell grants to be used for short term

training programs or lots of other ways

but I think this will be very important

and you're gonna play a leading role in

that I know secretary Scalia because I

know you've been involved in training

let me just if I could talk for a second

about how we got to where we are because

there's ten weeks into this unemployment

insurance program that was started in in

the chairs Act and where we go from here

we chose six hundred bucks for a simple

reason and Senator Wyden I think said it

well when he said it was rough justice

it was rough justice for trying to make

sure that people on average had wage

replacement but I think speaking I think

for everybody what we all were looking

for was wage replacement in $600 is well

above a wage replacement for a lot of

people and the University of Chicago

study that was cited earlier today is

that 60 to 70 percent of the people and

unemployment insurance making six

hundred dollars federal addition to the

state benefit sixty to seventy percent

of them are making more on UI than they

would make in their previous jobs so

there is this issue and look I the last

session I had with anybody in Ohio was

on Monday and before I flew here it was

a small business and the first got third

thing the guy said to me was what you

hear from small businesses when you do

your NFIB

conference calls which I do periodically

and so on which is I now finally able to

reopen and we're starting to get

business back things are going better

but I can't find people and

or telling me I'd rather stay on UI coz

I can make more money there and well you

know with sixty to seventy percent of

people making more money on you ID and

they're making their jobs that's gonna

happen I agree people actually want to

go back to work

I think it's wrong just said to people

who want to stay on UI I think people

like being at work but when they can

make a lot more money not being at work

it does create a disincentive I had a

town hall recently tell a town hall I'm

doing these pretty much every week now

and a woman called him and said I've got

two daughters one of whom is working

ones on UI and the one on UI is making

more than the one who's working and the

one who's working is upset about that

because they had jobs that were

comfortable prior to this so I mean this

is a reality we have to face it but it

was it was all good intentions because

we were trying to find that average wage

was about six hundred bucks per month

additional federal benefit to get the

average wage to soon be comparable and

so I I think it was rough justice but I

think now in a different situation one

we've got an economy that is starting to

grow in the numbers for last month we're

really surprising we thought we'd lose

seven and half million jobs and we added

two and a half million jobs I mean no

one should say that's not great news

however there's still 21 million people

run the unemployment rolls it's over 13

percent unemployment for African

Americans even higher Hispanics even

higher so we do have a huge problem here

the 600 bucks was necessary in my view

to get us started in this but now we

have a situation where the economy is

starting to reopen people are looking

for workers ii remember back then we

really didn't want people to stay at

work because we were encouraging people

to go home in other words we were

shutting down the economy except for

essential businesses we were actually

encouraging people not to be working now

we want to encourage people to work so

this is why I come to this proposal I've

been working on for the past couple

months with you and other people wishes

to say for people who are on

unemployment making whatever the state

benefit is usually it's about 360 bucks

on average from the state plus they're

making the 600 dollar federal addition

to that for those people who are

unemployed making more than they could

make it work which is 60 to 70 percent

of those people why not give them a

bonus to go back to work that bonus

could come out of the 600 dollars that

bonus I've suggested could be 450

why because that's the amount which

would make people even if they were on

minimum wage in this country so anybody

a minimum wage would be able to go back

and make just as much if not more in the

private sector than they could make on

UI if they had this bonus for us it

would be a it would be a six-week

program so it's a transition back to

work I really like it because I think it

gets people back to work at a time we

need them in the economy but also

because it's good for workers work is

where most people get their health care

right mr. secretary most people in

America get their health care from from

work and they lose it when they lose

their job unless they've got a great

company that's fertile I am and keeping

paying their health care but that's rare

second that's where they get their

retirement if they have in a retirement

account typically it's a 401k at work

but also I think the meaning of work is

important to people I think the

self-respect you get from going to work

is important to people so we want to

encourage people to go back to work it's

clearly good for small businesses who

are looking hard for workers right now

if they're starting to reopen and that's

good and of course it's good for the

taxpayer because think about it if

instead of 600 bucks it's 450 the

federal government saves money but so

does the state government are off

unemployment insurance and back on the

payrolls and they're actually paying

taxes by the way so even taking out the

fact they're now paying taxes and

contribute to the economy that alone

taking them off the federal 600 down to

450 whatever the number is and Congress

may choose another number and not having

the 360 bucks on average State benefit

it's tens of billions of dollars in

savings to the state governments and the

federal government's which is savings to

the taxpayer that's a win-win-win good

for workers good for businesses good for

the taxpayer now having said all that

what do you think about it mr. secretary

don't think that makes sense in order to

get people back to work I think it makes

sense to get people back to work we've

got to have an unemployment insurance

safety net but for the reasons you gave

work is even better and so I look

forward to Senator Portman speaking with

you and others about what we might do

going forward I'm certainly not here to

criticize the cares Act I think the

carrers cares Act is a really admirable

achievement by the United States

government

during an extremely difficult time but

but if it was rough justice let's find

justice let's let's let's use these

months these weeks to make things even

better and I think let's say we already

difference a little bit I mean I would

love to find justice in other words to

be able to say what is the wage

replacement senator where it goes but I

don't believe that the UI systems around

the country will find out from the

second panel when they come up to talk

are capable of doing that I think

they're gonna want one flat number

they've had enough difficulty doing that

unfortunately I think that's where we

are so let's do something that makes

sense to deal with the immediate problem

we have to get people back to work and

provide an incentive to do so

Thank You mr. senator Whitehouse the

secretary does the Department of Labor

have a specific counter proposal Senator

Portman's or any other two ending to

extending the 600 dollar benefit past

July

senator Whitehouse I don't have a

particular proposal that I would want to

air at this hearing okay

certainly and discussing what steps

might be taken I've heard you answer my

question but I think would help the you

know know yes mr. secretary you have

tried to talk over us through this whole

hearing that was a simple question just

let me go through my questions would you

please the second question is with

respect to the fraud investigations in

unemployment insurance we are seeing in

Rhode Island and other states a fraud

that looks like it is massive

coordinated and perhaps driven from

overseas how much of a priority is

investigating and remedying that fraud

for your department high/low super high

give me a measure to complete my answer

because I'm sorry I had not completed my

answer to your question I had look I

have had a conversation with ranking

mentor remember Wyden about this what we

might do going forward and and I look

forward to further discussions on those

lines with respect to Senator Whitehouse

with respect to fraud on the

unemployment insurance system

it is a very high priority for us we

recognize that unemployment insurance

fraud

has always been a langston long-standing

problem in the system we recognized that

because of the size the prominence of

the cares program it's become a an acute

problem and so it's one that I am

certainly personally spending my time

working with my staff to address and III

knew you have more questions so I won't

repeat everything I said earlier but for

you to filibuster us and kind of yuk it

up that's I don't think that's fair to

us with respect to the OSHA guidelines

related to covet what is the difference

between an OSHA guideline and an OSHA

emergency temporary standard with

respect to enforceability a standard is

a legally enforceable rule which we

already have a number of that we believe

we can use for enforcement with respect

to kovat we also have but to be planchet

or a tool that we can use for but to be

clear the kovat related guidelines that

you spoke about earlier are not

standards that OSHA is capable of

enforcing against it is only if they

overlap with another pre-existing actual

standard that you can enforce against

them is that not a correct statement of

the law that's that's respectfully not

entirely true actually guidelines that

we issue which are consistent with those

issued by the CDC and those adopted by

industries recommended by unions alike

establish a legal background at which I

believe we can bring a general duty

Clause action if we need to the other

difference well let me read line saying

is standard is there anything from your

website

OSHA headlines our advisory do not

create new employer obligations and are

not the basis for citations and then

further down it actually says the

recommendations contained as guidelines

are not enforceable under the general

duty standards either so

it looks to me like it's hard to enforce

rightfully I can make him original

officers the department I'm here I was a

chief medical officer murder priest and

as I said a guideline can provide part

of the background for an action the

other difference between a guy but

background and an ability to do things

or the guy gives us final point there's

been a lot of I think scorn heaped on

the $600 a week benefit which propped up

probably close to 40 million families

now through this crisis and the people

are overpaid and idle and all of that

but just for context in evaluating that

narrative I would also remind everybody

who's watching this hearing that 43,000

Americans who enjoy incomes over 1

million dollars got a benefit from the

cares legislation amounting on average

to over 1.6 million dollars each not for

their businesses but flowing back to

their personal tax returns the amount

that flowed back to individuals earning

over a million dollars each to their

personal tax returns as a result of this

1.6 million on average for those 43,000

people was over a hundred billion

dollars so let's just bear that in mind

as we evaluate what it means to a family

struggling to get by to have an extra

$600 I think we probably do need to

rethink this program but it would help

if we had a proposal from the Department

of Labor thank you my time is up Thank

You mr. chairman mr. secretary I

represent a very big aerospace cluster

about 150,000 people are involved in

aerospace both working for Boeing as a

manufacturer but also the supply chain

so we worked very hard on getting the

Kerr's act to support activity that

would get capital into those

areas and also to try to focus on what

we could do to protect essential workers

I'm sending you a letter today asking

for Trade Adjustment Assistance for

workers who are impacted at Boeing and

so I hope that you will look favorably

on that petition I don't know if you

want to make any comments about that but

one of the issues that I think we really

have to think hard about is that we want

to maintain our competitiveness in

aerospace

these are highly paid jobs and when

people get laid off because obviously

we've been impacted by this and the

whole transportation sector has been

impacted then those people who get laid

off may have a package that keeps them

connected to the company for a while I

was a big advocate of saying that

critical defense workers should have

extra health care benefit activity so

that when this crisis is over they'd be

more likely to come back into the fold

and that we wouldn't lose these critical

defense workers as it is we ran into a

big roadblock so so much of the

discussion this this afternoon has been

around the $600 and extending that my

question is really more on health care

what are we going to do to keep critical

workers in this sector that we would

like to keep them in is after their one

month of Cobra benefits runs out and

we're now talking about aerospace

engineers that they are then on the hook

for paying for their health care

themselves they can continue that Cobra

benefit but if they pay for it

themselves which again is a big

out-of-pocket expense so my worry is

what's going to happen to those

aerospace workers is they're going to

find another job that has health care

because they're not going to wait a year

from now for the aerospace market to

pick back up so what do we need to do if

you want to comment on the taa or the

benefits of trying to provide assistance

to aerospace manufacturing from trade

adjustment but also what is your plan

what do you think the plan should be for

keeping critical workers connected by

having some sort of healthcare benefit

out there and available in affordable

way I'll certainly look carefully at the

taa letter I recognized that Trade

Adjustment Assistance Act is an

important form of relief to industries

companies that have been affected and

will certainly take a look at that and

I'm saying they were affected before

this obviously the whole sector was

affected because of trade issues yes and

by the way I certainly share your view

that it's a very important sector for

this country for a number of different

reasons with respect to health care

providing it is always important and

often a challenge we extended the time

that people would have to elect Cobra

benefits during the pandemic so people

had more time to evaluate that option

and in the rush of everything else going

on didn't lose out on those benefits as

a result of the sort of ordinary

deadlines that apply I'll have to get

further thought to mechanisms that might

be used to induce people back to

aerospace jobs perhaps through a

healthcare benefit rather than having

them go elsewhere that might be of less

importance to national security alike

and it's not an issue that I've looked

at but I'd certainly be interested in

talking to you about about that aspect

of this problem well it's one of the

highest-paid manufacturing jobs that we

still have in the United States and and

I think the second hundred years of

aerospace could be a very big

opportunity as the rest of the world

continues to grow economically in the

future and it's a narrow space so I

would hope that we would figure out how

to upskill these workers and also figure

out this healthcare benefit because we

don't they don't have healthcare they're

not gonna stick around waiting for us

even if they're on taa we got to get

figure out how to get the healthcare

benefit to these workers and get them

back into aerospace and maintain us

competitiveness Thank You mr. chairman

Thank You mr. chairman

welcome mr. secretary good to be with

you I appreciate you visiting today most

states including Indiana waive job

search requirements as it relates to

animal

insurance in order to encourage people

to shelter in place to stay at home to

prevent further spread of the

coronavirus but now as as all of our

states begin to varying degrees to

reopen employers are recalling their

workers or hiring new workers to get

their businesses up and running and try

to resume some semblance of normalcy but

they're having having difficulty doing

so because of the additional UI plus up

which I know has been discussed at some

length today so what I'm wondering mr.

secretary is at what point states will

feel it's reasonable for workers to be

expected to search for work as a

condition of receiving further

unemployment insurance is this something

your department has has given some

consideration to senator thank you and

the work search requirements are ones

that are part of the unemployment law

infrastructure that the cares Act was

enacted on top of and although there

were states that for example saw to

waive the weekly certification

requirement we have asked that that

requirement continue to be honored I

certainly agree that especially as the

economy is now reopening as jobs are

becoming available it is important that

states begin applying the usual

mechanisms to encourage workers to look

for work it's we appreciate that it's a

difficult balance for them we still want

them also to be able to be getting

payments out to people who need them are

entitled to them but we know now that

millions of jobs are reopening we we

want to get people back there can can

you give me some sense of how states are

approaching this of what timelines they

might be looking at as it relates to

resuming the normal work search

requirements and what expectations are

being made of workers as they engage in

this work search and what

is somewhat different environment we

expect them now to be applying the

weekly certification requirements they

have we appreciate that a few weeks ago

some wanted out of that for a period of

time but we've asked them to comply with

that requirement and I think again now

it it's it's taking on more value more

importance

something that I've suggested to the

governor's I sent a letter the

governor's at the end of last week

talking to them really about these kinds

of questions that there's still work to

be done

providing benefits but the economy is

reopening so there's now this new job of

for example having employers let

unemployment commissioners know when

they're open for business or having the

State Workforce agencies informs when

employers are open for business and

working with the people on unemployment

to get them back to work we have these

workforce agencies in the States to help

people make that transition and and I

think now increasingly their services

are being called on and we want them to

do that job too

excellent thank you so many Hoosiers

have have lost their jobs over the

course of the coronavirus and many won't

have a job to go back to for others they

won't have a job to go back to for some

period of time and still others may find

that they've created a new job for

themselves or they can find a new job

that didn't exist prior to the pandemic

you may have spoken to this earlier I

know it's been a long day for you and

I'm appreciative of your presence here

for such a period of time but do we know

what jobs won't be coming back post

pandemic and what jobs have been created

as a result of the pandemic it's a good

question this has been such a

challenging stretch for American workers

that I hesitate to point out that the

positives that have been there but there

have been some I mean we have seen some

companies hire in some cases hundreds of

thousands of workers

particularly some of the larger

retailers have done that and I think we

can imagine some areas that will see a

further growth as the result of some

changes in lifestyle that people are now

making as a result of the virus there

are other industries that are going to

take longer and we know that I've met

with workers in the hotel sector and

business owners in the hotel sector and

and that's gonna take longer

like why likewise we know the sports

industry will take longer but I think we

can bring them back we have two

questioners left before I call on

senator Cortes Mostow and mr. Danes

we're not gonna have a second round but

I am going to as a matter of privilege

give senator Wyden he asked for two

minutes and and a few if he wants a

response from you I hope you can respond

in two minutes because we're holding up

the second panel so Senator Cortes

Mastiffs by TV I think I am here Thank

You Secretary Scalia thank you it has

been a long afternoon answering all

questions let me say you were just

touching on an industry that is hardest

yet I'm from Nevada their hospitality

and tourism gaming base destination

unfortunately we have the highest

unemployment rate the country and

unfortunately what we have seen through

our unemployment insurance our entire

employment training rehabilitation that

can receive more than 500,000 links for

standard unemployment insurance and

nearly 100,000 for pandemic unemployment

insurance and that's what the state was

a population of just three million

people so can you talk a little bit

about how you anticipate addressing

unemployment for the hospitality

industry you know when I'm in banking

and chairman power and I had this

conversation I asked which industry it's

going to take along student to bounce

back and keep referred to the

hospitality and tourism base so what are

you thinking for purposes unemployment

and how we should be interesting thank

you for the question and yes I spoke

with Governor Sasaki I think just last

week about Nevada's reopening and I know

that Las Vegas is now beginning to

reopen which is wonderful news but I

know that it will be a process that

takes place over a period of time and as

I mentioned a moment ago I do appreciate

that it's a sector of the economy that's

going to be slower coming back

unfortunately than others i I think that

you know we're seeing the rest of the

country reopened safely I just read that

Disney I think is going to begin opening

its facilities I believe later in the

month so I'm hopeful that some of these

business places that depend more for

business on large gatherings are not far

behind and that the reopening in Las

Vegas Nevada can also proceed more

quickly but I that's said I appreciate

that we do need to continue to watch how

these things develop over the next next

month or so next few weeks and and

evaluate whether there are additional

steps that have to be taken post July 30

and the circumstance that you have a

Nevada I do believe is one that was

gonna warrant watching and and perhaps

further discussion about how things are

progressing and what steps might be

needed for the benefit of the workers

and businesses there such as its

extending unemployment insurance III

think that it makes sense to talk about

this situation that workers our income

come the end of July and and and

and and what particular mechanisms an

unemployment piece could be one part of

that that I agree is worth discussing

particularly if you're able to target it

in certain ways yeah please know that

part of our industry too is that caters

that includes individuals that are

seasonal stage group motion so for

purposes of that industry which is

really the new economy I'm curious what

you're thinking for IRS's of the future

and even now at how we address our

unemployment needs I understand senator

Warner said this is an area we should be

focused on what are you doing to address

this issue because so many of them it is

a new economy we shouldn't be looking at

how we provided many of you it is

classified as you well know and so what

what are you looking at this is me these

workers a senator the audio cut out just

a little bit but I think you were asking

about workers that are often treated as

independent contractor so-called gig

workers self-employed and as I mentioned

earlier providing unemployment benefits

to them a form of unemployment benefit

in the cares Act was an important thing

to be done given their given how they

were affected in much the same way as

many other workers I think there are

other things that can be done to help

people in that segment of economy is

something that we proposed we adopted a

rule for what we called Association

health plans to make it easier for the

self-employed as well as for the people

who work for small businesses to band

together to buy health insurance

senator Warner earlier mentioned some

ideas that he has for gig workers I

think that's a segment of economy that

is really important I think there are

many workers out there who like the

independence that comes with having a

job of that nature but it does make

sense to talk about ways to adapt some

of what we do for workers in light of

the particular line of work that those

people are in thank you

you bet thank you and now senator from

Oregon for two minutes yeah Thank You

mr. chairman I just want to correct the

record on some of the key issues first

when I talked to the secretary you know

last week on one of the key questions of

why we had to have a $600 a week

supercharged benefit the secretary said

that the state still didn't have the

ability to do full wage replacement

which I would have been happy to do in

the first instance today he said seems

like they made a lot of progress and I

don't know what might have happened over

the weekend mr. secretary but I think

that's just misleading the committee

it's misleading the public and on a key

kind of question which is what to do

going forward because I've indicated and

I've mentioned some of my colleagues

being open to this then I'm open to a

variety of approaches but it does

doesn't help when we have misleading

comments and that was the case in

several other areas both myself and

Senator Casey asked about this question

of whether an unemployed person could

turn down an unsafe job and continue to

claim unemployment insurance you said

repeatedly that was a matter of state

law we've been looking at it it's not

when it's pandemic coverage then you

have the capacity as a secretary of

labor to give the states guidance which

is what we've been asking you about for

the last three hours and finally I was

just stunned by this you said that well

isn't that great that we've all been

able to agree on the pandemic coverage

which we called the gig workers and the

self-employed and the like and I just

went back and looked at the record and

the fact is that the McConnell bill was

eight lines long and it had nothing to

do with those workers and it was because

people on this side of the aisle said

that a program that began in 1930s it

was time to modernize it and bring it in

to the next century we'd like to work

with you but it doesn't help when on key

issue after issue and I understand being

I'm a lawyer in name only ran the legal

aid office for the elderly but that's

different than being misleading and I

think on to many key issues today

you are simply misleading and I think

it's going to make our job harder

because we want to do a bipartisan bill

which is actually what we came out of

the committee room the first time before

we got to the floor Thank You mr.

chairman if you want to answer please do

it in two minutes thank you and ranking

member Wyden I hope we can continue

talking about different mechanisms that

might be available there the approach

that I think that I suggested to you

when we spoke last week was one which

resembled in some ways what we discussed

in March which was potentially involving

the Treasury Department in in helping

disperse benefit for unemployed workers

that actually use approach that would

have included the state since they have

critical information that said I

actually have learned more since you and

I spoke we've had discussions with

states we've learned more and I confess

I am as I sit here now more optimistic

about the capabilities that the states

may have based on the conversations that

we've continued to have and so I look

forward to exploring that further with

you but the more recent information that

I've gotten has been encouraging and

then with respect to safe workplaces I'm

sorry that you don't feel that it's as

clear as you'd like but as I said we

want safe workplaces we don't expect

people to be forced back to workplaces

that are unsafe the unemployment

standards are as you know state

administered we've provided guidance I

think including guidance regarding at

least some circumstances where we would

expect workers can sleep safely return

but if we hear from states that that's

an area where they need further guidance

will certainly have those discussions

with them thank you mr. secretary you've

had a long afternoon here and you

a well-attended committee meeting all

but three members came to have dialogue

with you I thank you for your patience

and and I also appreciate the

cooperation of our staff through I mean

of our members through all of this so

I'll excuse you now and then while our

staff is putting up the name plates I'll

in or start to introduce first Scott

Sanders Mr Sanders is executive director

of the National Association of State

Workforce agencies that's an

organization of state workfare workforce

system administrators it goes by the

acronym nas WA prior to joining that

organization he served as commissioner

of the Indiana Department of Workforce

Development next we hear from an Iowan

Beth Townsend

miss Townsend is director of Iowa

Workforce Development appointed by

Governor Branstad confirmed unanimously

by the Iowa Senate March 24th 2015

previous to that her present position

she was director of the Iowa Civil

Rights Commission prior to that she

worked as an attorney in West Des Moines

Iowa in civil rights and employment law

miss Townsend also served as a member of

the Judge Advocate General Corps of the

US Air Force she retired from the Air

Force Reserve after 21 years of both

active and reserve duty third is Jose

hire Rodriguez

mr. Rodriguez is a member of the Florida

Senate representing the 37th district

including Coral Gables Pine Crest key

bin Biscayne and downtown Miami and he's

been in the Senate since 2016 he

previously served two terms in the

Florida House of Representatives next

les Neely

president of the newly canvassed a goods

company in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania mr.

Neely runs a family-owned business

operating since 1940 which produces

residential awnings and tarps for

commercial trucking and other uses been

able to bring all of his employees back

to work which you will tell us about

doing that then we hear from Michelle

ever more miss ever mores a senior

policy analyst for the national employee

law Employment Law Project Miss evermore

joined that organization 2018 prior to

that she worked in Congress for a decade

in the Senate and also was a staff

person for the House Committee on

education and the workforce in those

roles miss ever more work to advance

worker protections organizing rights and

to improve retirement security in a

variety of private pension plan designs

as well as Social Security I'm sure the

staff has informed everybody that if you

have longer than 10 minutes or I mean

longer than five minutes statement that

you want put in the record it will be

put in the record and I will start with

Mr Sanders then miss Townsend well kind

of the way I introduced you so let's go

with Mr Sanders

you