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Red states lead economic recovery, giving GOP ammo against Biden’s spending plans.
States with Republican governors are leading the recovery from the Covid-19 economic shock, complicating President Joe Biden’s push for a new sweeping infusion of federal aid.
Of the 15 states that have returned to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity, 12 are led by Republican governors, Federal Reserve data shows. Of the 10 states reporting the lowest levels of activity since January 2020, seven — including New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois — are run by Democratic governors.
Red states are also reporting lower unemployment numbers.
Businesses, economists and policymakers are divided over whether conservative governors’ policies on jobless benefits and Covid-19 restrictions — many of them chose not to issue stay-at-home orders at all — are actually helping their economies or if their states’ industries simply didn’t fall as far behind during the pandemic.
Still, the uneven recovery and the lackluster job growth reported in both April and May have given Republicans ammunition to repudiate Biden’s expensive aid plans. They’ve also ignited concerns among conservatives that the federal assistance — especially the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that passed without GOP support in March — should have focused more on who needed help the most.