I’m proud of our Wisconsin Republicans. Instead of surrendering to panic and responding as too many politicians do by throwing our own money at us, they are thinking through the consequences of the actions that are being proposed and making thoughtful decisions. The key now is that government will need to take actions, but they need to avoid making the cure worse than the disease.
A bill mandating paid sick leave and expanding federal unemployment benefits that won resounding bipartisan approval in the House and Senate received no support from Wisconsin’s Republicans, who say it was rushed and would put further strain on small businesses.
The legislation, signed into law by President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening, expands federal unemployment benefits and mandates employers provide paid sick leave to employees along with a host of other measures to ease the economic hardships the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has wrought upon many Americans.
But the state’s Republican delegates said the paid leave measure would harm small businesses already struggling with the economic downturn caused by the outbreak.In a statement, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, supported many of the bill’s provisions, including free testing for COVID-19, but said the legislation could force businesses to lay off workers or close their doors.Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, opposed the paid leave provision and expansion of federal unemployment benefits. Instead, he unsuccessfully proposed an amendment that would have cut both in favor of boosting state unemployment funds with federal dollars and passing temporary laws to accommodate their use in response to the pandemic. He voted against the final Senate bill on Wednesday.