Governor Whitmer Vetoes GOP Proposal to End Participation in Federal Jobless Benefit Enhancement

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer address the media after several dams breached, in downtown Midland, Mich., May 20, 2020. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a Republican initiative Tuesday that would end the state’s participation in federal benefits enhancements that provide an extra $300 to those who became unemployed during the pandemic.

In a statement explaining her reasoning for rejecting the measure obtained by the Detroit News, Whitmer said she is “open to discontinuing” the enhanced benefit early if the Republican-dominated state legislature funnels federal funding to childcare needs and increases the standard unemployment benefit.

Before the bill arrived at the governor’s desk, it failed to secure a two-thirds majority in the state legislature, disqualifying it from immediate enactment. Whitmer argued that the bill also violated federal law by not providing minimum notice of 30 days before attempting to discontinue the federal relief enhancement.

“Moreover, ending these enhanced UI (unemployment insurance) benefits on July 31, as proposed by HB 4434, would drain $1.5 billion from our economy — money that will instead flow into our local economies and support small businesses,” Whitmer noted.

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