This afternoon, NC Governor Roy Cooper began the process to accept the $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits that President Trump promised in his memorandum last week.
He also sent a letter to NC House Speaker Time Moore and Senator Phil Berger directing them to increase unemployment benefits by $100 “from North Carolina’s Unemployment Trust Fund and not the remaining federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money.”
“North Carolina has among the worst state unemployment benefits in the country but you have failed to remedy that in the middle of this pandemic,” he Cooper stated in the letter. “Extend state unemployment benefits to at least 24 weeks (it’s now the lowest in the country at 12 weeks) and increase the maximum weekly state benefit to at least $500 (it’s now $350).”
The General Assembly had the chance to help North Carolinians out of work as we faced the highest unemployment rates we’ve seen in decades but didn’t. Legislative leaders and the federal government need to take action and provide sufficient, reliable unemployment benefits. pic.twitter.com/t55Pv6VdMn
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) August 12, 2020
The entire letter reads:
Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. President Pro Tempore:
I am in receipt of your letter from yesterday requesting I take steps to secure unemployment payments to North Carolinians per the terms of President Trump’s executive order. My administration has already begun preparing the application for the payments.
Let me be clear. I refuse to let North Carolinians suffer because Congress and the President have been unable to get the job done and you have failed to help the unemployed.
Congress and the President should approve the full federal supplement of $600 per week in unemployment compensation. While I appreciate your new-found interest in helping people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, you as legislators should do more.
North Carolina has among the worst state unemployment benefits in the country but you have failed to remedy that in the middle of this pandemic. When you return on Sept. 2, you should extend state unemployment benefits to at least 24 weeks (it’s now the lowest in the country at 12 weeks) and increase the maximum weekly state benefit to at least $500 (it’s now $350).
As we await federal guidance for the new federal $300 per week benefit, I encourage the President and Congress to agree on more reliable help for the unemployed and to replenish the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund being used for this temporary aid. In the interim, North Carolina should fund its $100 state share from North Carolina’s Unemployment Trust Fund and not the remaining federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money. With no federal help in sight, CRF money should be reserved for additional critical pandemic needs like helping small businesses, schools and health care.
I look forward to working with you on behalf of North Carolina residents as we fight this pandemic and rebuild our state’s economy
With kind regards, I am
Very truly yours,