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Whitmer vetoes bill to end $300 weekly unemployment benefit early

Unemployed workers can continue collecting up to $662 a week through Sept. 4.
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan will continue paying the weekly $300 federal unemployment benefit until it expires on Sept. 4.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed House Bill 4434, which would have stopped the additional jobless pay immediately. Unemployed workers could continue collecting only Michigan’s jobless benefits if Whitmer had signed the bill into law.

Instead, unemployed workers will remain eligible for the $300 weekly federal benefit through Sept. 4. Twenty-five states voted to end the federal benefit early, but Michigan will not join them.

The Michigan House passed the bill in June with all Republicans and two Democrats in support while the Michigan Senate passed the bill on party lines on June 24. Whitmer announced her veto on Tuesday, meaning Michigan will continue paying the extra benefits.

Business leaders have complained that the additional federal unemployment benefit discourages some workers from getting a job. The $300 benefit and Michigan’s top unemployment pay of $362 mean workers can collected $662 a week, which equates to about $16.55 an hour for a 40-hour work week.

Democrats say money should not be taken from people struggling to find work.

Whitmer says the bill would have violated federal law by ending the payment without 30 days’ notice. She also notes the legislation also would not have taken effect until 2022, by which time it would have been moot.

The bill also would have required the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency to use plain language in all of its documents and communication with workers. Republicans say the agency’s communications contain legal language that some workers cannot understand.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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