Crist issues executive order allowing out-of-work Floridians to get extended unemployment benefitsby Dara Kam | July 23rd, 2010
With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Charlie Crist just accomplished what lawmakers refused to do earlier this year – give long-time jobless Floridians the ability to get extended unemployment compensation benefits approved by Congress yesterday.
Democratic lawmakers, including Palm Beach County’s Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres and Rep. Kevin Rader of Boyton Beach, were among those who pushed their colleagues to extend the June 5 deadline for the benefits during the regular session that ended in May. That didn’t happen.
Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, worked behind-the-scenes with Crist on the executive order granting the benefits to about 100,000 Floridians whose unemployment benefits have run out and others whose benefits will dry up before Congress’ reauthorization ends.
“Unemployed Floridians are struggling in this challenging economic climate, trying to figure out how to pay their bills and support their families. We simply cannot desert the 250,000 Floridians who qualify for the extended federal assistance signed into law yesterday. I am committed to exercising my Constitutional duty to authorize the use of available federal funds to help out-of-work Floridians who qualify for this help,” Crist wrote in a release this afternoon.
Congress initially established the extended benefits program in 2008 to provide federal funds for jobless workers who exhausted their state unemployment benefits. Congress has since reauthorized the program several times.