Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lashed out at President Trump in a statement on Sunday after the president cut the enhanced federal unemployment benefit from $600 a week to $400 a week after Democrats in the House failed to make a deal with the Republican-controlled Senate on the matter.
Trump signed four executive orders on Saturday, one of which lowers the enhanced unemployment benefit by a third through the end of the year, with states being required to contribute $100, according to MLive. Unemployed Americans originally received $600 per week through the CARES Act, which expired July 31.
“Once again, the president has refused to work together with Congress on a bipartisan recovery package that supports our states, families, frontline workers, and small businesses,” Whitmer said in a statement. “He has routinely proven that he’s more focused on his chances in the November election than fighting the virus that has killed more than 160,000 Americans.”
The order signed Saturday would give an extra $400 per week to unemployed Americans — $300 from federal aid and $100 from state aid — on top of unemployment already coming from the state, MLive said. Eligible claimants could begin receiving funds the week ending August 1.
“The president’s recent actions do nothing to protect the millions of unemployed Americans who need to put food on the table for themselves and their families. He cut federal funding for unemployed workers and is requiring states that are facing severe holes in our budgets to provide 25 percent of the funding,” Whitmer said. “His refusal to provide full federal funding to states across the country to help us combat this virus will hurt the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis, like our first responders, health care workers, child care workers and more.”
Michigan saw more than 17,000 new unemployment claims for the week ending August 1, a drop of 6,901 new claims compared to earlier weeks, according to recent reports.
Whitmer said Trump’s recent orders “do nothing to protect our kids from the spread of this virus.”
“It’s time for the president to do the right thing, stop playing political games, and work with Congress on a recovery package that will help us fight this virus, protect working families, and send our kids, educators, and support staff back to school safely,” Whitmer said.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.