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Gov. Bill Lee. Photo: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced Tuesday that his state will withdraw from federally funded pandemic unemployment benefits on July 3.

Why it matters: Tennessee joins a growing list of states with Republican governors that are turning down the federal benefits citing worker shortages. Some experts say, however, it's the job climate and not unemployment benefits that is determining when and how people return to work.

The big picture: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) also announced Tuesday an end to the state's benefits program.

  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) ordered a stop to the benefits on Monday.
  • Last week, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) did the same.

The end to the benefits means that unemployed Tennesseans will no longer receive weekly $300 payments, benefits for non-traditional workers (such as gig workers or those who are self-employed), or an extension of benefits.

What they're saying: “We will no longer participate in federal pandemic unemployment programs because Tennesseans have access to more than 250,000 jobs in our state,” Lee said in the press release.

  • “Families, businesses and our economy thrive when we focus on meaningful employment and move on from short-term, federal fixes.”

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Courtenay Brown: "The floodgates are open. While policymakers and economists spar over whether generous jobless benefits are keeping would-be workers at home, more and more states are moving ahead to cut them off."

Go deeper: States enter the unemployment fray

Go deeper

Aug 19, 2021 - Health

23 AAPI civil rights groups press Biden to "use precise language" on COVID origins

Photo: Michael Loccisano via Getty Images

Twenty-three AAPI civil rights groups led by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans are calling on the administration to take extra caution as it prepares results from its investigation into the origins of COVID.

Why it matters: In late May, the Biden administration launched a 90-day probe into COVID's origins amid controversy over the lab leak theory. In a letter delivered to President Biden on Thursday, advocates warn the "simple existence of that report will put our communities at risk."

Aug 18, 2021 - Health

The ethics of vaccine booster shots

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The Biden administration is expected to soon recommend booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone, but that decision fails fundamental ethics tests, according to interviews with physicians and medical ethicists.

Why it matters: There is still a global shortage of vaccines. Even amid concerns of the spreading Delta variant, experts say it's difficult to justify a third dose for relatively healthy people in the U.S. when many others haven't gotten their first.

Aug 20, 2021 - Health

NYPD: Unvaccinated officers must wear masks or face discipline

Photo: Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images

Unvaccinated officers at the New York Police Department will be required to wear masks on duty or face disciplinary action, the department confirmed Friday.

Why it matters: Public and private entities are increasingly considering reinstating mask mandates amid a surge in Delta cases. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last month that all city employees, including law enforcement, must get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.