Breaking News! Unemployment Benefits To Be Restored!

20110603_unemployment-line

Governor Perdue Signs Executive Order

Early this afternoon Governor Bev Perdue signed Executive Order 93 to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits for the 47,000 North Carolinians that have been living without them since April. Since then, these out-of-work individuals and their families have suffered at the hands of Republican lawmakers, who have held these benefits hostage and used them as pawns in their political chess game.

Republican lawmakers have refused to pass a clean bill to extend these benefits. Instead of extending the benefits to these individuals and their families, they have simply extended the pain and suffering. Remember, these benefits are totally federally funded and would not cost our state a cent. Today, Gov. Perdue decided to deal with it herself.

In April, Republican lawmakers passed a bill to extend the federally funded benefits for up to 20 weeks, but it contained a stipulation that would force a double digit slash in the budget. Gov. Perdue called this “extortion,” and those unemployed lost their benefits sooner than expected. Since then she has been trying to work with Republican lawmakers to no avail. She had this to say today,

“For weeks, I have been trying to work with the Republican legislative leaders to get them to do the right thing: send me a clean bill to extend the unemployment benefits for 47,000 North Carolinians who have lost their jobs. But instead of acting responsibly on this matter, the Republican legislature has repeatedly refused to send me such a bill. Instead, they have persistently attempted to use our unemployed workers as hostages by tying the extension of their benefits to my acceptance of budget bills that would inflict severe and unnecessary cuts to our schools and other essential programs.”

Click here for some news coverage.

Perdue also said that since the benefits are paid entirely with federal funds, she has the power to extend them as North Carolina’s chief executive with the authority to sign contracts with the US Labor Department. It is uncertain if she has had the power to issue an executive order this whole time.

Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis plans to deliver a press conference this afternoon.