Source: News & Observer

In a letter to Republican leaders, Governor Roy Cooper called out legislative leaders for their lack of action to help protect North Carolinians who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooper moved to apply for federal unemployment benefits that were extended by the federal government. The federal money is removed from FEMA, and Cooper wrote that it would be better for Congress to appropriate new funds instead of taking away from other disaster relief money, the News & Observer reports.

Cooper said that the North Carolina legislature should extend the length of unemployment benefits and increase the amount paid.

“While I appreciate your new-found interest in helping people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, you as legislators should do more,” Cooper wrote in a letter to Sen. Phil Berger and Speaker Tim Moore.

In North Carolina, unemployment benefits are among the stingiest in the nation. The GOP-led General Assembly, with then-Governor McCrory’s stamp of approval, limited benefits drastically. Benefits only extend for 12 weeks, tied for the shortest period in the nation with Florida, and the amount paid is $350 per week, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Cooper is calling for the cap to double, at 24 weeks, and to raise the weekly payment to $500, the News & Observer reports.

Cooper said it was necessary for the legislature to act and help protect North Carolinians who were unemployed.

“North Carolina has among the worst state unemployment benefits in the country but you have failed to remedy that in the middle of this pandemic,” Cooper wrote.

Read the full story from the News & Observer.