The North Carolina General Assembly is poised to pass a bill that would slash unemployment benefits and raise business taxes.
Opponents have been rallying across the state, calling the measure cruel.
On Monday in Asheville, activists challenged lawmakers to try to live on $350 a week.
"We are calling on Pat McCrory to do his part, live on $350 a week and see what it is like and then decided if you think this is the best North Carolina can do," said former state senator Charles Carter.
The measure would repay Washington billions of dollars the state owes it three years ahead of schedule.
The state Senate is expected to pass it and the governor said he will sign it.