On April 2nd, Missouri could become the only state in the country to abruptly cut-off federally-paid unemployment insurance benefits to struggling out-of-work job-seekers.
That’s because four Missouri State Senators are holding up a bill that would continue federally-funded Extended Benefits (EB) for thousands of Missouri’s hardest-hit unemployed workers and their families.
As a result, nearly ten thousand Missourians will have those benefits cut-off prematurely next week. Another 56,000 face having those benefits cut-off shortly.
The bill, which is a simple technical adjustment to state law to allow the Extended Benefits to continue through 2011, has already passed the state House. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon supports it and wants the state Senate to pass it so that he can sign it. A clear majority in both parties and the Senate’s leaders support it and want to bring it to a vote.
But Senators Jim Lembke, Brian Nieves, Will Kraus and Rob Schaaf have kept the Senate from voting on it for weeks – endangering this crucial aid for thousands upon thousands of Missouri’s struggling job-seekers.
And why are they blocking the Extended Benefits bill? They say they want to make a point against federal spending. So they have picked these federally-funded unemployment benefits to lodge their protest – for what amounts to 0.002 percent (that’s two one-thousandths of a percent) of the federal budget.
These are benefits that go to Missourians, who spend them on family necessities in local Missouri businesses. Holding up and cutting off these benefits will hurt Missouri workers and their families, and hurt Missouri businesses.
Eleven other states that have had to pass the EB renewal legislation to keep these benefits going have done so without any interruption. Unless the EB bill is passed, Missouri will become the only state to cut off these benefits to its own struggling job-seekers.
Tell Senators Lembke, Nieves, Kraus and Schaaf: Stop Blocking a Vote on Extended Benefits for Missouri.
They and State Senate leaders need to take all necessary steps to ensure that the Senate gets to vote on the Extended Benefits bill this week.