Baldwin introduces “Rebuild Main Street Act”

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 5:37 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Wisconsin's unemployment rate hovers around 12 percent, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

“The pandemic has clearly wreaked havoc on our economy as cases across Wisconsin and in many parts of the country have spiked in the last few weeks,” Says U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Senator Baldwin has introduced the ‘Rebuild Main Street Act’, which she says would extend additional unemployment benefits beyond the end of July.

“We need to extend the additional, bonus seems like such a wrong word for it, but the additional $600 and the expanded eligibility for unemployment compensation,” she says.

But state republicans argue economic relief starts at the state level.

“We’re looking at four months in now and we are still having significant problems in people getting their claims approved,” says State Representative Jim Steineke.

A problem Baldwin blames on outdated computers.

“One of the big problems is most of the states have computer hardware and systems that date back to the 1970s or 80s that just weren’t built for what we’re seeing today,” she says.

“It is really easy to second guess things like computer systems and play Monday morning quarterback, it is another to offer viable solutions,” Steineke says.

Still Baldwin says her new legislation will help put Wisconsin back to work.

“Immediately fund 6 months of wages and benefits for unemployed workers, this legislation is a win-win for businesses and workers,” she says.

But state republicans say they have a proposal that will help the state sooner.

“We are proposing the administration set up a zero interest forgivable bridge loan program to help those folks,140,000 individuals who continue to wait,” Steineke says.

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