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As New Jobless Claims Show Depth of Crisis, Tillis is Fine With Letting North Carolina Go Bankrupt

As New Jobless Claims Show Depth of Crisis, Tillis is Just Fine With Letting North Carolina Go Bankrupt

"I’m more or less aligned with Leader McConnell on the issue” of letting states go bankrupt

Raleigh, N.C. —  Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of North Carolinians filing for unemployment insurance surpassed 900,000:

“As nearly 900,000 North Carolinians file for unemployment benefits that Thom Tillis has repeatedly weakened and made more difficult to access, he’s now supporting a plan to allow state and local governments go bankrupt. Not only would that lead to more unemployed North Carolinians as the state and municipalities are forced to lay off firefighters, EMS workers, school teachers, and more, but bankruptcy would threaten the health of North Carolinians.

“Senator Tillis has voted repeatedly to tear down health protections and raise health care costs for North Carolina’s most vulnerable. Now, he wants to go further. Just think of the longer wait times for an ambulance in an emergency when a fire station is forced to close. In the middle of a pandemic, this is more dangerous than ever.

“The worst thing a state can do during this public health and economic crisis is put more people out of work and cut vital public services. We need Senator Tillis to ensure the federal government sends critical funding to keep health care workers, firefighters, and teachers on the job so they can keep North Carolinians healthy and safe.”


Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated...I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.”

In response, Tillis said, “I’m more or less aligned with Leader McConnell on the issue.”

The State is the largest employer in North Carolina.

Tillis’ history of restricting unemployment benefits, blocking Medicaid expansion, attempting to eliminate key public health programs, and limit access to affordable health care dates back to his time as the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives when he fought to reduce eligibility and “touted the benefit reductions.” Last month, Tillis and Burr voted to stop an expansion of unemployment benefits for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


About Piedmont Rising Piedmont Rising is a 501 (c)4 issue advocacy organization built by and for North Carolinians to advocate for lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs and to ensure that more people have access to safe and affordable health care. Through grassroots organizing, education, and engagement, we are amplifying our health care stories and holding our elected officials accountable to the people, and issues they were elected to represent.

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