Senate Republicans Join Bipartisan Effort to Demand Answers from State Unemployment Agency

Thursday, August 6, 2020

SACRAMENTO - Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and members of the California Senate Republican Caucus recently joined with Legislative Democrats to demand changes to Governor Newsom's mismanaged Employment Development Department (EDD). Legislative Republicans recently signed on to a bipartisan letter that was delivered to the Governor and the EDD Director. Click here to read the bipartisan letter. 

Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency and ordered a government-directed shutdown of the economy on March 4. Five months later, the government-sanctioned shutdown has shuttered hundreds of businesses and left more than four million Californians seeking unemployment benefits through the dysfunctional EDD.   

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (Bakersfield): “Senate Republicans continue to advocate for California workers who cannot get the financial relief they deserve because of the Governor’s mishandling of the unemployment agency. This is not a partisan issue and these families need financial assistance quickly so they can pay their rent, put food on the table, and provide for their children. It has become more and more evident there is a lack of leadership from the Governor in handling the glaring issues at the EDD. The mismanagement must end because Californians truly deserve better.”

Senator Patricia Bates (Laguna Niguel): “California is failing many constituents who are desperate to obtain unemployment insurance payments from the EDD. The department’s agonizing delays and lack of timely responses are absolutely unacceptable. Californians deserve better and it is time for the Governor to truly work with the Legislature to address the persistent problems plaguing the EDD.”

Senator Ling Ling Chang (Diamond Bar): “It’s absolutely unacceptable that the State has failed millions of Californians. Every day, constituents are desperately reaching out for help on their claims with the EDD - many have lost jobs or depleted savings, most are unable to reach a representative, and they’re simply at their wits’ end.  We need the governor to take immediate action to improve EDD operations.”

Senator Brian Dahle (Bieber): “Although the unemployment system wasn’t designed for an enormous influx of claims, the halfhearted attitude of the Administration to rectify the long and deep backlog is frustrating for legislators and their constituents who are just trying to make ends meet during this economic shutdown.”  

Senator John M.W. Moorlach (Costa Mesa): “Governor Newsom needs to make this EDD fiasco a top priority. Other states, like Rhode Island, have worked with software innovators to get their checks out in a timely manner. With Silicon Valley, California should have done the same, but it has failed to meet the moment.”

Senator Scott Wilk (Santa Clarita): “This should have been a priority from day one. Californians are facing homelessness because warnings from legislators, like myself, were ignored. Our letter makes it clear that legislators from all sides agree what is going on at EDD needs an immediate solution. I hope this gets the governor's attention.”

BACKGROUND:

Senate Republicans warned Governor Newsom about the failures of the EDD in April after hundreds of thousands of jobless Californians reached out to Republicans seeking help with their unemployment claims. Click here to read April EDD letter.

In June, Republicans asked for an independent audit of the EDD through the Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC). Democratic members of JLAC canceled a crucial hearing on August 11 which would have been an opportunity to audit the EDD. Signed by Republican members from both the Assembly and Senate, the letter to JLAC is a bicameral effort to demand answers from EDD. Click here to read the JLAC letter.

In July, Republican Senator Scott Wilk called for the EDD to remain open 24/7 to handle the backlog of cases. Click here to read Senator Wilk’s letter.