LANSING, Mich., Oct. 7, 2020 — Republican members of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism unanimously voted during a meeting this morning to block vital legislation that would extend unemployment benefits to hundreds of thousands of Michigan workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Democratic members of the committee moved to advance House Bill 4894, introduced and sponsored by state Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) back on Sept. 3, 2019, to restore unemployment benefits to 26 weeks and increase eligibility and benefits for claimed dependents. The importance of passing this legislation took on new urgency following the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling to eliminate emergency protections last week, significantly jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders throughout the state.

In August, state economic experts and the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies attributed much of Michigan’s rapid economic recovery to the extension of unemployment benefits that provided Michigan residents the support and resources they needed to care for themselves and their families during this crisis. Legislative Republicans’ refusal to take responsibility or action on this and other legislation shows that they are perfectly willing to risk Michigan lives and our state’s economic recovery to score political points.

Despite their pronouncements to the contrary, the fact that House Republicans called only one committee meeting this week — and yet still refused to move legislation to protect the health and well-being of Michigan families — proves that they still have no plan to confront COVID-19 and are woefully unprepared to take on the responsibility they wasted over a half million dollars to be given.

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