MI debates expanded unemployment benefits

LANSING, MI – Labor groups want Michigan to pass legislation that would extend unemployment benefits for people in job training programs and to some who were laid off as part-time workers.

The federal stimulus plan would make about $138 million available to temporarily pay the expanded jobless benefits. But Michigan would be on the hook to continue the payments once stimulus money runs out in 2011.

The Democratic-led Michigan House passed legislation in May that would extend benefits. The Republican-led Senate has not acted on the bills because of the costs that would continue once the Recovery Act ends.

The Michigan AFL-CIO and Progress Michigan on Monday called for Senate action, noting Michigan has the nation's highest unemployment rate at 14.1%.