Jordan Shapiro

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX/MDN) – After letting unemployment benefits run out for thousands of Missourians, the Senate leadership promises to revisit the issue by the end of the week.

Floor Leader Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles County, said he hopes to bring the $105 million in federal money to the floor again and attempt to break the filibuster, which lead to the benefits’ expiration. The federal money would extend benefits for an additional 20 weeks for roughly 10,000 unemployed Missourians who lost their benefits Saturday.

After failing to pass an extension of unemployment benefits at the end of March, the Senate leadership has said they will try again to pass the proposal. Dempsey said he will bring it to the floor on Thursday and “would go all night” to pass it, if necessary. President Pro Tem Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, said he was optimistic about the proposal’s chances.

“At the end of the day we will get a vote on unemployment,” Mayer said.

Missouri’s House overwhelmingly approved the extended benefits months ago, but the proposal has hit a major roadblock in the Senate. Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis County, has led a filibuster against the funds and said Missouri needs to send a message to Washington about irresponsible spending. Lembke said rejecting the funds would save the federal government $96 million.

Gov. Jay Nixon weighed in on the issue at an April 1 press conference and urged the Senate to reconsider.

“The reality is that too many Missourians are still out of work,” Nixon said at the press conference. “As our economy gains steam, it’s critical that we continue to stand with these folks and help them get back on their feet.”

Lembke, however, said he was looking out for the taxpayer and the federal debt during his filibuster.

“The federal government is broke … my position is looking out for what is best for the Missouri taxpayer,” Lembke said.

Dempsey said they have been trying to compromise with Lembke, offering to reduce the extension to 10 weeks instead of 20. Although Dempsey said he could force a vote on the issue, he would prefer to settle it with a compromise.

If the Senate is successful in passing the extended unemployment benefits, the proposal could hit the governor’s desk by the end of the week.

Copyright KMOX/MDN

Comments (6)
  1. Gerald D.Smith says:

    There should be no compromise on unemployment. Be the leaders you were elected to be. These workers didn’t want to be placed on unemployment,they went to work every day or night to earn their paycheck.There are jobs paying a wage but not a livable wage. You can’t pay bills on the $8.50 McDonalds is going to offer. These senators should be placed on unemployment and see how they feel then.

  2. Susan says:

    The politicians who are trying to block it are so unintelligent.There is a 9.9% unemployment rate in Missouri. That means that everyone knows someone who is suffering from it. Whether it be a family member or a good friend. And all of those people will not vote for them. Then they will be unemployed.Plus the money has already been allotted and will be given to another state. Way to look after the people of your own state.

  3. SANDRA STEELE says:

    We on the extended benefit are professionals who cannot find work. When we apply to lesser menial jobs, we are turned away because we will not stay or we are over qualified. WE ARE NOT DEAD BEATS….PLEASE HELP US.

  4. SANDRA STEELE says:

    EVERYONE PLEASE EMAIL UR SENATORS AND THE GOVERNOR ON THIS ISSUE BEFORE THURSDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. S. Stevens says:

    At this point I’d be thrilled to even have a job at McDonalds. I applied there and was not hired because I’m overqualified. Maybe when I lose my home I can go move in with Sen Jim Lembke…maybe we all should. Really it is a wonder that our society has not yet devolved into a life of crime over losing the roofs over our heads and the ability to feed our families, while desparately seeking work. All while the rich get richer and people like this senator look out for the wealthy. I agree that cuts need to be made on federal spending. But, at the expense of people like me who are close to 50 yrs old and have worked all their lives and now cannot find work? How about we cut some of those fat government paychecks instead?

  6. Paul says:

    I called Jim Lembke’s office and asked for a job. I was told it was not the government’s place to provide jobs. Does Lembke realize that he has a job provided by the government and is paid by the government. When I asked if he is so concerned by the deficit, why not donate his salary to the government. Answer, He is not paid that much as a senator. My answer. Since he get so little, then donate it to the government to pay off the deficit. Instead, hit the people who have worked and lost their jobs. The only way you can get unemployment. Once you are over 60, no body wants to hire you. GE pays no income tax for 2009 and 2010 but made billions. I think it is time for the right to pay taxes. Remember, “taxes are for the little people”.

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