Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday vetoed a Republican bill that would have ended emergency unemployment benefits in Michigan.
Under House Bill 4344, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond), Michigan would have followed what 26 red states have done and ended the $300 per week supplemental federal jobless benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic that has left more than 600,000 Americans dead and sickened 34.1 million.
In Michigan, 898,626 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 19,862 have died.
Without the emergency unemployment benefits, Michigan workers get $362 per week in regular aid, which has not increased since 2002. That’s less than half the maximum in Minnesota, another Great Lakes State, which tops out at $740 per week.
Business lobbyists and Republicans have been pushing for the benefits cuts for months, with U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) leading a May letter of all seven GOP congressional members to Whitmer calling for her to end the emergency aid.
On Tuesday, Michigan GOP Chair Ron Weiser accused Whitmer of “kick[ing small business owners] when they’re down” by “paying people to stay home and not work.”