@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Perdue restores benefits

Posted June 3, 2011

Gov. Bev Perdue issued an executive order today restoring extended federal benefits for about 50,000 jobless North Carolinians.

The problem that stopped the benefits in the first place was a legal formula that needed to be changed.  From the time the problem became apparent, back in April, the governor's office said the legislature would need to make the change because the formula was written into law. 

That kicked off weeks of political hardball between Perdue and Republican legislative leaders, with both sides accusing one another of "playing politics" and "taking the unemployed hostage."  

Republican leaders, after refusing to send the governor a stand-alone bill to make the change, decided to attach it to their budget proposal, which is expected to land on Perdue's desk tomorrow. 

Today, the Governor announced she had made the change herself by executive order. And many of those jobless people whose assistance checks were cut off weeks are now wondering what took so long. 

Perdue's press secretary Chris Mackey explained earlier today that the governor had been waiting on Republicans to step up.  

“I think she really gave the Republican leaders a chance to do the right thing," Mackey said. "She’s tried to work with the General Assembly since April. She tried to get them to pass a clean bill.”

But if she had this option, I asked, why wasn't it explored weeks ago, when the stalemate first started? 

“She gave the Republican leaders a chance to do the right thing, and they didn’t. So she found another solution,” Mackey said.

At an event this afternoon, Perdue explained that she had consulted with the Department of Labor, who told her just yesterday that her executive order would be legally sufficient to get the checks flowing again.

The timing couldn't have been better for the governor, who would have begun to take political heat tomorrow to move quickly on her budget decision, since unemployment benefits were waiting on her signature.     

The Employment Security Commission said on its website this afternoon that it "anticipates paying a majority of those eligible claimants by next week."

Senate Leader Phil Berger issued a statement today, saying he's having nonpartisan staff look into whether or not Perdue has the power to make the change, after all.  

"We hope that, in a desperate effort to claim credit for what’s going to occur because of the bipartisan budget, she is not putting the benefits of tens of thousands of unemployed North Carolinians at risk by using a questionable legal gimmick," Berger's statement said. "If she really thinks this is appropriate, she shamefully did nothing for seven weeks."
 

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  • dlphnwmn8 Jun 6, 2011

    Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger said he's having nonpartisan staff look into whether Perdue has the authority to make the change."We hope that, in a desperate effort to claim credit for what’s going to occur because of the bipartisan budget, she is not putting the benefits of tens of thousands of unemployed North Carolinians at risk by using a questionable legal gimmick," Berger said in a statement. "If she really thinks this is appropriate, she shamefully did nothing for seven weeks."
    Really Berger? She shamefully did nothing? You and the rest of your frat boys shamefully DID do something when you refused time and time again to pass HB 676 and devasted countless individuals and families. So you can forget obfuscating this. And even now you want to throw us under the bus by “looking into this.” 2012 elections are not far off and the hole you are digging for the Reps gets deeper and deeper each day. Don’t think for one minute any of us will forget this.

  • SpaceCowboy Jun 5, 2011

    Bev better late than never. So lets get on to 2012 and clean House and Senate folks let no one forget what the unemployed were put through by the Republicans.
    1 awesome Dad

    I totally agree. I will vote all democrat the next election after this. I will remember this a long time. On top of the great stuff Bev just did, the repubs could only make themselves look stupider by saying "well why then didn't she do it seven weeks ago".

  • leethree Jun 4, 2011

    berger is the one that did nothing in a shameless fashion for 7 weeks...go bev...let's vote berger out of office for his selfish political actions!

  • Gilgamesh 2 Jun 4, 2011

    Both parties played with our lives.The Governor TOO!!

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Jun 4, 2011

    This has all been a political ploy by both sides and both sides should be heartily ashamed.

    In several blogs and on several websites, I challenged them all - from the Governor on down, to delay paying their housing, utility and food expenses until this was resolved - so that they could experience first-hand what their 50,000 political pawns were facing.

    None of them were brave enough or had enough integrity to accept the challenge. What a surprise!!!

    I wonder how many of the 50,000 are now homeless because of their shenanigans, cause mortgage companies and landlords will rarely wait 7-8-9 or more uncertain ('til yesterday) weeks for a housing payment.

  • leethree Jun 4, 2011

    Great move by Gov Bev....agree that we need to remember the republicants heartless and shameless posturing when we vote in 2012

  • AlbertEinstein Jun 4, 2011

    1 awesome Dad - I do believe that you did not understand that Bev could have done this immediately (in April) with the same type of Executive Order and FAILED to step to the plate. Instead she choose to either ignore the possibility that she could do the EO or place the blame on others. Impeach Bev Purdue.

  • dawnwhitehead Jun 4, 2011

    I've worked hard from the time I was 16 until just 2 years ago when I was laid off! I'm continuing to work to get my Bachelor's complete in hopes to find a better job. As well as being a stay at home mommy. I'm one of those that honestly deserve these payments. To be told at the beginning of the year that I'm eligible for 20 weeks and to be cut off mid term with only a weeks notice was a punch in the face and just wasn't right, in my opinion. Thank you, Bev!!! :D

  • oldman32948 Jun 4, 2011

    Lets us never forget. Way to go Bev at least you helped us. However you took to long for some people. The republicans day are numbered. 2012 let us not forget.

  • hitmanhart Jun 4, 2011

    Not just republicans, they are ALL to blame. Seems no one would bend at all. Bev could have taken care of this before folks started worrying themselves, and losing sleep.

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