by Sam Hieb
Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris called out N.C. legislators over over the bill working its way through the General Assembly that would cut unemployment benefits:
“As a result, families struggling to secure their place in the middle class will suffer a grievous blow, and the state’s economy will lose $780 million in federal funds that are vital to reducing North Carolina’s high unemployment rate,” Harris said. The state’s jobless rate was 9.2 percent in December.
“We know that for every dollar spent on unemployment insurance benefits, nearly two dollars are generated in the local economy,” Harris said. “Unemployed workers and their families spend these benefits in local grocery stores and small businesses, and use them to stay current on mortgage or rent payments and utilities.”
HB 4 cleared the state House last week, and the Senate will discuss it and perhaps vote on it today. Meanwhile, the House will take up the Senate bill rejecting two Obamacare provisions— Medicaid expansion and creation of health insurance exchanges. A spokesman for Speaker of the House Thom Tillis dismissed media reports that the House ‘take a slower approach’ to the bill.
Update: Gov. Pat McCrory issues a statement opposing state run healthcare exchanges.