Perdue’s order shut down the possibility of a showdown with the GOP-led state legislature — a scenario that already played out last spring when the unemployment checks of more than 46,000 North Carolinians were held up by the GOP-led state legislature.
N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis and N.C. Senate Pro-tem Phil Berger, the two GOP leaders that have been at odds with Perdue for the past year, had released a statement two hours before Perdue’s order, saying that “we encourage her (Perdue) to take the appropriate action and call the General Assembly back for a special session.”
Perdue didn’t bite at the offer and instead issued her order, indicating that as governor she has the authority to deal with the federal labor department and the state legislature needn’t be involved. The federal funds had been part of the two-month extension passed by Congress in late December, and will go to those who have nearly exhausted unemployment benefits in states with higher percentages of jobless workers.
Here’s what Perdue had to say, in a written statement released by her office shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday (emphasis is her own):
Middle class families across North Carolina are working harder than ever, but many are still having a tough time. I signed an executive order today that will extend temporary benefits to approximately 25,000 unemployed North Carolinians. In addition to providing desperately needed financial help to the families that actually receive the benefits, these federal dollars will help all North Carolinians because the money will circulate throughout the economy and help support large and small businesses across the state. To be clear, we’re able to achieve these results with no impact on the state budget because all extended benefits resulting from this order will be paid with 100% federal money.