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Wisconsin Republicans fail to override veto and end unemployment aid

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:35 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Assembly Republicans have failed in an attempt to override Gov. Tony Evers’ veto of a bill ending $300 a week in federal unemployment aid.

Republicans were five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed Tuesday to override, with no Democrats joining them in the effort to override.

Republicans argued that the federal payment, on top of Wisconsin’s weekly $370 unemployment benefit, was motivating people to not search for jobs, only worsening the state’s worker shortage problem. Wisconsin has faced a worker shortage for years.

The money was approved by Congress as a way to help the unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment is set to expire on Sept. 6.

After Republicans announced plans to convene for a veto override, Evers called a special session for them to consider increasing K-12 and higher education funding by $550 million.

Republicans rejected the call as a political ploy, saying they had no plan to revisit the education budget that was signed into law by Evers just over two weeks ago.

Evers issued this statement following the special session:

“It’s breathtaking, frankly, that Republicans had the chance to do the right thing, and do what’s best for our kids and they chose to play politics instead,” said Gov. Evers. “Republicans had time to go to Madison for another political stunt but couldn’t be bothered to even consider investing more money into our kids and our schools—that’s just wrong. Our kids deserve better, and I will continue to fight to do what’s best for them because I know that’s what’s best for our state.”

Gov. Evers

According to Evers, Republicans in both the Assembly and the senate gaveled out of the special session without consideration or debate. He says the Assembly didn’t gavel out of the special session until two hours after the Assembly had already adjourned the extraordinary session regarding the unemployment aid. Evers adds members of the state senate gaveled out of the special session concurrently.

State Superintendent Jill Underly also issued a statement Tuesday regarding the actions of the state legislature.

“As school districts work to return to face-to-face instruction, the threat of the Delta variant rages. Children under age 12, the majority of our school population, still cannot be vaccinated. Yet, instead of finding ways to help schools do the important work needed to help students recover academically, the legislature has ignored them. Our legislative leaders point to one-time federal grants provided by Congress as a solution. Make no mistake, this money comes with significant strings attached and does not meet the needs of our students, educators, or their communities. The legislature is telling districts that despite a record budget surplus, they are not going to get the assistance they need. Schools will make tough choices in the years ahead because of this legislature’s short-sightedness. But they don’t have to. The state is still sitting on a record surplus thanks to Governor Tony Evers. I encourage every Wisconsin school district administrator, board of education president, and every parent to contact their legislators and detail every item that will be cut from our public school budgets. Describe for them the individuals who will lose their jobs, the facility repairs that will go undone, the bus routes that will go unmanned, the classrooms that will go without substitute teachers, and the enrichment programs your community is proud of that will go away. All of these decisions translate into fewer opportunities for our kids. They need to hear how that impacts your life. To find your state elected officials, you can use the Wisconsin Legislature’s public website. And if they don’t answer your phone calls, call them again, or email them for an explanation.”

State Superintendent Jill Underly

Evers had previously been the Wisconsin State Superintendent.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.