Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Senate Republicans Deny Help For Unemployed Michigan Workers

Been watching the Senate on TV today when I can, although I find that Senator Allen's jacket keeps distracting me. You put something like that in front of the ornate decorations on the Senate walls and you just gotta hope it doesn't trigger any seizures out there. Throw in McManus saying something about returning to the 1920s, and Cropsey, well, just being Cropsey, it becomes hard to keep up with all the flying amendments and the rapid movement to the third readings that I don't have time to go look up...

Fortunately, the Senate Democrats send out releases that tell us what the hell is going on, and as expected, the Senate Republicans shot down the stimulus money that would go to help modernize the unemployment system and give benefits to part-time workers and those in job training programs.

Senate Democrats today continued to fight for Michigan workers as they moved to take up the House-passed unemployment modernization legislation to receive $138.9 million from federal funds. Senate Republicans opposed this effort to provide assistance for displaced workers throughout Michigan.

“It’s wrong to deny our working families help at a time when our state’s economy is struggling,” said Senate Democratic Leader Mike Prusi (D-Ishpeming). “Laid off workers need these benefits and it’s unbelievable to me that Republicans would deny help to workers who are trying to be retrained to get a new job.”
Unbelievable? No, the Chamber of Commerce deemed this so, and so it shall be done by the Republicans to serve their masters.

We don't see enough of Senator Prusi - so here he is, explaining that he remembers being laid-off in the early 80s, and how hard it was to have to leave the state to find work. I remember that time as well, was laid off from my job in January of '84 - and I believe that this recession is a lot worse.

Here is the official description of what has been denied:

Included in the two-bill modernization package, House Bill 4785 would allow individuals enrolled in a state-approved jobs training program to receive unemployment insurance benefits for an extra 26 weeks. House Bill 4786 would allow individuals working between 16 and 40 hours per week to become eligible for unemployment insurance benefits beginning after January 1, 2011. Senators Tupac A. Hunter (D-Detroit) and Deb Cherry (D-Burton) have introduced identical Senate bills that have not been acted upon by the Republican majority.
The Senate Dems have a website - Help MI Workers - where you can take action. It's complete with the phone numbers and the e-mail addresses of all your favorite Senate Republicans (handy!), so drop them a line or give them a call if you are so inclined.

The Dems also remind us that 11 other states have already approved this funding. If I'm not mistaken, very conservative Georgia was one of them. Michigan, with the highest unemployment rate in this nation, would be foolish to turn down this help.

But hey, whatever the Chamber wants, the Chamber gets. Right?