MI Dem. Leader Urges Obama Withhold Funds from State over Right-to-Work Law

After the Michigan’s state legislature approved historic right-to-work legislation last week in the union-heavy state, Michigan’s Senate Democratic leader was so furious that she, on Friday, called on President Barack Obama to not only pressure Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder to veto the legislation but to hold back federal funds from her ailing state as leverage.

Gretchen Whitmer, the Senate Democratic leader who is considering challenging Snyder in 2014, said she hoped Obama would hold back funding for a new bridge and mass transit renovations for cash-strapped Detroit when he visits the state on Monday. 

“We are hoping that when President Obama comes to Michigan next week, that this is going to be on his radar screen, that he’s going to say Michigan doesn’t care about their middle class, [so] why should we be bending over backwards to make sure that this governor is able to deliver on his promise,” Whitmer said in an interview with a local radio station. 

On Thursday, Whitmer said the votes to approve the right-to-work bill in Michigan’s House of Representatives represented “petty and vindictive” politics. 

Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, said Obama has “has long opposed so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now.”

“The president believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights,” Lehrich said.

Michigan’s House of Representatives approved right-to-work legislation that would make it “illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment.” Next week, this bill must be reconciled with the two right-to-work measures the state Senate had previously approved before the final piece of legislation goes to Snyder’s desk.

Snyder, who had been lukewarm about right-to-work laws, especially as he eyes reelection in 2014 in the state where unions still maintain political clout, indicated that he now plans to sign any right-to-work law that comes to his desk.

“When it arrives on my desk, I plan on signing it,” Snyder said. 


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