UPDATED 7:48 AM PT – Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is under fire from Republicans after cutting millions of dollars in unemployment benefits from a state COVID-19 relief bill.
On Tuesday, Whitmer signed a massive bipartisan relief package that was easily passed by state legislators, but not before nixing a provision to provide $220 million to Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. She adamantly claimed while signing the bill, the change wouldn’t affect people’s jobless benefits.
“To be very clear, this will not impact individual workers,” she stated. “General fund dollars have got to be used to fund essential services like vaccines and PPE, not to give tax breaks to big businesses right now.”
However, state Republicans were quick to rebuke Whitmer’s claims while pointing to a different bill that extended state unemployment benefits though March. They noted that bill requires the money to go into the trust fund in order for the extension to occur.
At a time when Michiganders need it most, @GovWhitmer vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits. Unemployment cannot be extended without these funds. We are dismayed by her decision to leave families without the assistance they desperately need.
— Sen. Mike Shirkey (@SenMikeShirkey) December 29, 2020
Republicans are now saying those funds may never be seen by many struggling Michigan residents as Michiganders collecting state unemployment for over 20 weeks will be cut off on January 1, 2021.