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PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at two pandemic-related claims by state lawmakers

Posted at 5:03 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 18:03:35-04

The pandemic is still a hotly debated topic among lawmakers as the nation continues its rebound. PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at two pandemic-related claims.

Republicans have argued that the additional $300 in federal unemployment benefits have prevented some people from wanting to find a job, after being laid off during the pandemic.

State Representative Mark Born says just look at Wisconsin's unemployment numbers.

"His claim was that before the pandemic began, there were about 40,000 people in Wisconsin collecting unemployment benefits, and now, even though the economy has improved substantially since then, there are still well more than 100,000 people collecting unemployment benefits," said Greg Borowski with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Republican lawmakers passed legislation to cut off the $300 federal enhancement. The nationwide benefit is set to expire Sept. 6.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says Born's numbers add up and rated this claim True. "This was a straight numbers claim, and by the numbers Mark Born is very accurate," said Borowski.

The pandemic also changed the way members of Congress voted on bills. In May of 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi allowed members to vote by proxy, meaning they could designate a colleague to record their votes.

"There's an accusation out on Twitter that Congressman Mark Pocan was abusing that privilege, and that he was voting by proxy much more frequently than he was claiming," said Borowski.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says the Wisconsin Democrat from Madison has regularly been in D.C. this year to vote. But the numbers are different when looking at Pocan's proxy voting record last year.

"There had been 292 votes under the proxy system, and he has voted by proxy 90 times," said Borowski. "That means he used someone else to vote on his behalf, so he did not have to travel to Washington. "

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Pocan's claim of voting regularly in D.C. during the pandemic as Half True.

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