MO Senate embraces extension of jobless benefits
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Thousands of Missouri residents cut off from federally funded jobless benefits soon could regain eligibility under a plan embraced Thursday by the state Senate — but their gain could come at the expense of people laid off in the future.
Several Republican senators upset about federal spending ended a filibuster Thursday against legislation renewing the federal long-term benefits, but only after the Senate voted to cut state jobless benefits by six weeks, to a maximum of 20 weeks instead of 26 weeks.
As part of the deal, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer also pledged to help the filibustering senators identify $250
million of federal stimulus spending that can be cut from the state’s budget.
Republicans who had held up the unemployment legislation declared it victory — though the outcome was not what they had demanded a day earlier, when they called on Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to first join them in eliminating $300 million of federal stimulus spending.
“My goal from the beginning was to send back as much stimulus money as possible — borrowed money from the federal government — and that’s what we accomplished,” said Sen. Jim Lembke, a Republican from St. Louis, who led a group of four filibustering senators.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press