U.S. Senate takes steps to extend unemployment benefits - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

U.S. Senate takes steps to extend unemployment benefits

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(01/07/14) - The U.S. Senate Tuesday took steps to restore federal unemployment benefits for more than 43,000 Michiganders who lost them at the end of December.

Senate Democrats got support from six Republicans.  They voted 60-37 to end debate on a bill that would extend these benefits for three more months at a cost of $6.4 billion.  A final vote on the bill is expected later this week.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow has been on the front lines calling for this extension. She says the federal government has always offered emergency benefits when unemployment is high.

"These are temporary emergency benefits to help people survive while they find a new job. And if we don't get something done by June, we're going to have more than 86,000 people in Michigan who aren't getting temporary help to make sure they can take care of themselves and their families when they're out of work," Stabenow told ABC12's Washington correspondent Ted Fioraliso.

But many Republicans are worried about the cost of extending the unemployment benefits and say it should be offset by cuts elsewhere.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, "It is only when you believe government is the answer to all of your problems that you talk about unemployment insurance instead of job creation, and the minimum wage instead of helping people reach their maximum potential."

Meanwhile, Mid-Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee is calling on Republican leadership to bring the bill to a vote in the House, if it passes the Senate.

"Whenever we have Americans who are struggling, looking for work, looking to make ends meet, we have a role in supporting those folks, and we ought to do that. We ought not condition whether or not we support the unemployed on Congress's willingness to cut some other part of the budget. We should just act and get this done," said Kildee.

No word yet if House Speaker John Boehner plans on bringing this bill to vote. He took to Twitter saying, "The ultimate solution to joblessness is more jobs," along with a link to House-passed jobs bills.


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