State GOP lawmakers make unemployment relief proposal

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 4:45 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Republicans in the State Assembly announce an emergency unemployment relief plan as they say nearly 140,000 people in the state still wait for their claims to be processed.

“Linda runs a small business, and so, not only was she out of work because of the Governor’s closing of the economy, but all of her employees were also out of work,” said Rep. David Murphy (R-Greenville). “So, she tried to apply for unemployment and tried to help her employees get on unemployment, and after weeks and weeks they still hadn’t gotten any answer.”

On the steps of the Brown County Courthouse, GOP lawmakers share stories of their constituents struggling and waiting weeks, even months for unemployment payments.

“When you have employers calling for their employees, you know how desperate it is,” said Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc).

“This experience has been the most frustrating and upsetting of my legislative career,” said Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay).

“Today we are suggesting emergency relief for the unemployed who have been waiting for months,” said Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette). “These payments being proposed by Assembly Republicans could provide a bridge for the Governor’s workforce agency to get its act together.”

Nygren says the plan would at a minimum provide a weekly payment to the unemployed as the claims are being processed. Exactly who would be eligible and how those payments would look are up to Governor Evers and his administration.

“For perspective, if we allocated $40 million of the $280 million remaining of the coronavirus relief fund that the federal government provided to Wisconsin, this would provide up to $327 per week for up to 4 weeks for up to 30,000 claimants,” said Nygren.

He points to other suggestions made by Assembly Republicans to the Evers administration in recent months. Those include opening the call centers seven days a week and expanding hours, performing a top-to-bottom review of the unemployment process to remove barriers and possible bottlenecks, and taking steps to eliminate the current backlog of claims.

The proposal comes as the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced on Wednesday an increase in staff and expanded hours for calls centers.

“To me, what they’re doing is great, but in the case of these individuals it’s too little too late,” said Nygren. “So, let’s act to get them some resources today.”

Action 2 News reached out to Governor Evers’ office for a response to the plan and has not yet received a response.

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