LANSING – As the US Congress is deadlocked over proposals to restore federal extended unemployment benefits and increase the minimum wage, State Senators Hoon Yung-Hopgood (D-Taylor) and Jim Ananich (D-Flint) forced a vote to push the issues in the Michigan State Senate. The move to take up SR 112 and SR 113 was defeated on a straight party line vote this morning.
“Some of the long-term unemployed who have been without help for months need that help to pay their bills and keep food on the table while they find new jobs,” said Hopgood, sponsor of SR 113 regarding the unemployment extension. “Instead of finding solutions, Congress and our Republican-controlled Senate seem content with finding excuses.”
The resolutions have been stuck in a State Senate committee without even a hearing since being introduced earlier this year. SR 112 calls on Congress to act on a proposal to increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI, while SR 113 calls on Congress to restore the extended unemployment benefits that expired in January.
“People who work hard for a living should be allowed to earn enough to keep their family out of poverty,” said Ananich, sponsor of SR 112 regarding the minimum wage. “The Senate missed a chance today to let Congress know that their inaction is hurting our families and our economy.”
The US Senate has crafted a compromise proposal on unemployment, but just this week Speaker John Boehner indicated he may not even allow it to come up for a vote. More than 2 million Americans have lost benefits since they lapsed, including more than 73 thousand in Michigan alone as of March 1.
A recent report found that Michigan could save more than $200 million in supplemental nutrition assistance if the minimum wage was increased. That could result in at least 110 thousand families no longer needing that type of help.
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