Michigan Lawmakers Vote To End $300 Payments To Those Still Unemployed
On Thursday, after amending a previously non-controversial bill, the Michigan House voted 60-49 to end the extra $300 in supplemental federal payments to job seekers receiving unemployment benefits.
The bill had originally started out as a bipartisan bill sponsored by both republicans and democrats to require the Unemployment Insurance Agency to use plain language in its communications with the public. But the Republican-led house then voted to change the bill to exclude the UIA from working with the federal government. That action would effectively end the $300 federal payments currently issued through the UIA.
One of the bills original sponsors, Democratic Representative Lori Stone pulled her name from the bill as a sponsor and says it was changed for partisan reasons:
This is exactly why people are frustrated with government today. We have a real solution to a real problem today, which is being twisted to suit a partisan agenda.
But many Republicans have been saying that the extra $300 a week is contributing to a supposed labor shortage. Republican Representative Beth Griffin says the money disincentivizes people from working:
You cannot return to normalcy in our state without workers returning to their jobs. Businesses have already done everything humanly possible to attract people back to work but people have been honest and simply said they're making too much money on unemployment to come back.
While the bill was carried by Michigan House Republicans, two democrats also voted for the amended bill, including Sara Cambensey of Marquette and Karen Whitsett of Detroit.
Governor Whitmer has not stated whether or not she supports the bill as passed, but if the State Senate passes the bill, it will head to her desk for a signature or possible veto.