Michigan lawmakers approve extension of unemployment benefits, new nursing home rules

LANSING — Michigan lawmakers worked until the wee hours Wednesday morning, waiting as legislative leaders and the administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer debated behind closed doors on how best to help millions of workers and small businesses struggling because of  the financial strain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Legislature sues Gov. Whitmer over emergency powers

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Leaders from the House and Senate met off and on for more than 16 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday with representatives from Whitmer’s administration to discuss the measures. After midnight early on Wednesday, lawmakers formalized agreements to extend unemployment benefits, outline new safety measures for nursing homes and create new legal protections for health care providers and other businesses.



a group of people sitting at a table: Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, as they talk to reporters Thursday, January 30, 2020 about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State speech.


© Kathleen Gray
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, as they talk to reporters Thursday, January 30, 2020 about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s

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Powell to cast recovery as improving, yet highly uncertain, in testimony before lawmakers

Still, with about half of the 22 million payroll jobs lost in March and April still off the books, Powell’s statement suggests the rise in joblessness has been especially severe for low-wage workers, women and people of color.

“A full recovery is likely to come only when people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities,” according to Powell’s written statement. “The path forward will depend on keeping the virus under control, and on policy actions taken at all levels of government.”

Powell is scheduled to testify at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Both will also appear on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee to give updates on the Cares Act, the federal coronavirus aid bill passed in March.

Powell is likely to get questions from lawmakers on the Fed’s Main Street lending program, which has become the focus of an

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