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Governor moves to restore jobless benefits

Gov. Bev Perdue signed an Executive Order Friday to restore federal unemployment benefits for thousands of North Carolinians.

Here’s the statement released by her press office:

“For weeks, I have been trying to work with the Republican legislative leaders to get them to do the right thing: send me a clean bill to extend the unemployment benefits for 47,000 North Carolinians who have lost their jobs. But instead of acting responsibly on this matter, the Republican legislature has repeatedly refused to send me such a bill. Instead, they have persistently attempted to use our unemployed workers as hostages by tying the extension of their benefits to my acceptance of budget bills that would inflict severe and unnecessary cuts to our schools and other essential programs.

Meanwhile, thousands of North Carolina families are running out of money and options. I hear from them all over the state. They visit my website and Facebook page to beg for help.

One woman called my office recently. She has a background in accounting and has been looking for work for months. Because she lost her benefits she and her daughter can no longer stay in their apartment. They have nowhere to put their belongings so they will also lose everything that they can’t carry to the homeless shelter.Sadly, this story is not unique. The people I hear from say they can’t keep the lights on. Banks are ready to foreclose.

And yet, the Republicans in the legislature stubbornly cling to their political games. Just yesterday, they voted down a measure to separate this issue from their budget. Enough is enough. They continue to use desperate people as leverage to extort my support for an ideologically-driven budget that needlessly cuts millions from our public schools and inflicts millions of dollars more in damage to our universities, pre-school programs, community colleges, job creation efforts and vital health care services. I will not stand for it and I will not sit by idly as the legislature continues to play these games and deny the jobless the unemployment benefits they need.

Let me remind you that the extension of unemployment benefits for the unemployed costs the state of North Carolina nothing; the benefits are paid for entirely with federal funds.

Every week we deny these benefits is another week that we keep $11 million of federal funds from flowing into our economy. This money would pay for things like groceries, rent and clothing and help small businesses who sell these items or collect that rent.

North Carolina cannot wait any longer for the legislature to do what they should have done more than a month ago. Today, I am issuing an executive order extending federal unemployment benefits to these 47,000 North Carolinians. Republican leaders in the General Assembly have been unwilling to take the necessary steps to extend these benefits, and no doubt they will attempt to interfere with this action. But I, for one, believe these people are entitled to and need these federal funds, and the Republican-controlled legislature needs to stop using the unemployed as pawns.”

You can find the official Executive Order to extend unemployment benefits here.

10 Comments

  1. David Esmay

    June 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you for standing up for those of us who have suffered through this mess. I am disgusted by the GOP leadership, who would walk across the backs of hungry children to score political points.

  2. jlp75

    June 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I think this is great for those in need if it works. Does she have the authority to do this?

  3. mansaywhut

    June 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I almost jumped out of my seat when i read this on the news and observer website while looking for work!!!!!!

    Thanks for your leadership on this issue Gov. Perdue. to think one Republican actually had the nerve to say that she is “incompetent” and “this is the worst thing that she has ever done”. It unbelieveble how much those reps. have lost touch with the average citizen. All of us should make sure that those that stood in the way of this bill will be without a job come election season.

  4. Lisa

    June 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I have wondered for weeks if she had the authority to go over the General Assembly – glad the Governor is standing up to the mean spiritedness on Jones Street – however, I think she should have acted sooner – as this was an urgent situation for many people.

  5. kadenn

    June 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    This shows that she is concerned about the people of NC. Those people that had no concern about how people eat, paid their bills, and took care of their children should be ashamed of themselves.

  6. Adam Searing

    June 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Good for you Governor!

  7. Alex

    June 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Why didn’t she do this long ago instead of all the political grandstanding?

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  9. Jim

    June 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Man….. I know y’all happy about the outcome and all, but TRUST ,,,
    She signed the bill the same day it was going to be forced into law.
    So be happy and think Bev is on your side. She only cared about her teachers future, not unemployed people. Think I’m wrong. Ha ha
    Of course some of u slow country people do, that’s way education is so important to some people. The governor knows exactly what she’s doing.

  10. Pollytiques

    June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I have read every thing I can find on this issue this weekend. It’s been very interesting and VERY enlightening. There’s too much to it to post here, go do a little research and you can find the answer to why she hasn’t done it before and what the “leaders” are still trying to do to stop it. I didn’t miss that five “Democrats” are already signed, sealed and almost delivered either.