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Brady: Poorly Designed COVID Unemployment Program Led to Greatest Theft of Tax Dollars in American History

July 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) today joined Matt Weidinger of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to discuss the billions of taxpayer dollars that have been stolen by criminal fraudsters since the pandemic began, and Republicans’ efforts to recover lost unemployment benefits and prevent future fraud.


CLICK HERE to watch the event.


Rep. Brady said:


“Due to the poorly designed, too generous, COVID unemployment programs we are experiencing the greatest theft of tax dollars and the greatest theft of workers from Main Street in American history. 


“And now, Democrats in Washington are determined to spur higher inflation and hurt the economy even further with a dangerous expansion of the welfare state that ushers in a new era of government dependency.”


Matt Weidinger said:


“It’s anyone’s guess how much has been lost. The estimates start at $80 billion, the 10 percent error rate before the pandemic for this program applied to the now roughly $800 billion in state and federal benefits paid since the pandemic started. But that’s almost certainly low given the fraud that we’ve seen. 


“California officials in January estimated that 27 percent of funds there may have been misspent. One expert who has been helping multiple states avoid these sorts of losses suggests the losses could reach as high as 50 percent, or a staggering $400 billion. If the losses are even half that much, unemployment fraud would qualify as the fourth largest stimulus program, bigger than the Coronavirus Relief Fund for states, and the cost of vaccine treatment and development combined.”




Republicans Are Fighting Against Unchecked Unemployment Fraud.

  • Rep. Brady, along with top Republican leaders, introduced the Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2021 to prevent fraud in COVID unemployment  programs, recover fraudulently paid benefits, and provide relief for taxpayers and victims of unemployment fraud.
  • Republicans have been sounding the alarm on the rampant fraud and abuse in COVID unemployment programs for months. Calls for hearings have been ignored and letters to the Biden Administration have gone unanswered.


While Democrats are Sabotaging Our Jobs Recovery, Criminals are Lining Their Pockets with Billions in Taxpayer Funds. 

  • Top officials at the Labor Department estimate that at least $63 billion, and as much as $89 billion, in unemployment benefits have been improperly paid since March 2020, largely due to fraud. The true amount is unknown. Officials at estimate it could be more than $400 billion – as much as 50 percent of all unemployment relief.
  • Democrats extended COVID unemployment programs through Sept. 6th 2021, with no additional protections against fraud — and without having held a single hearing to determine how to prevent further fraud from occurring.
  • Unchecked unemployment fraud is delaying legitimate payments, diverting funds away from unemployed workers, and turning thousands of Americans into unwitting identity theft victims.


It’s Time to Stop Democrats’ Emergency Spending and Get America Back to Work.

  • As President Biden and Democrats try to push through another multi-trillion dollar spending bill, Americans have already received unprecedented government relief from Congress.
  • Democrats’ runaway spending is shrinking the paychecks of America’s working families with surging inflation and consumer prices increasing the most in 13 years.
  • Job creators are practically begging people to return to the workforce with added incentives—increasing the prices they charge to customers on a budget.