Sen. Smith Statement: Republicans’ Missed Opportunity to Help Unemployed

MADISON – Today, the Wisconsin State Senate met without taking action on extending the one-week waiting period waiver. The deadline to extend the waiver expired on Sunday, March 14th, leaving Wisconsin without the ability to collect millions in federal funds for the unemployment insurance program.

“Another wasted Senate session day has left unemployed workers without answers,” said Senator Smith (D – Brunswick). “We’ve already lost millions of dollars because the Majority Party has been asleep at the switch. It’s unacceptable and we owe it to workers to do our job in the Legislature.”

President Joe Biden recently signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on March 11th. ARPA increased the reimbursement rate from 50% to 100% for states that opt to waive the one-week waiting period for unemployed workers. Wisconsin lost $25 million in March 2020 and stands to lose another $3.9 million in February 2021 because of the Republican Majority’s inaction. Beginning yesterday, Wisconsin started losing an estimated $2.6 million per week by not extending the waiver for the one-week waiting period.

“This is the third time in the past year the Majority Party missed the deadline,” Senator Smith said. “The clock is ticking and we will lose millions of dollars more if we continue to delay the extension. I get it, Daylight Saving Time makes it tough to get up and get moving, but we can’t just hit the snooze button on this one. Republicans and Democrats already agreed twice to extend the deadline – there’s no good reason to delay again.”

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