After joining “with her fellow Republicans to block a bill that would have extended unemployment insurance, Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine urged Democrats on Friday to put forward a separate bill to help people who have exhausted their jobless benefits,” the New York Times reports.
The legislation blocked by Republicans on Thursday includes both the $35.5 billion extension in unemployment insurance and a broad array of tax changes and other safety net spending. Republican leaders said they were opposed to some tax increases in the bill and also do not want the measure to add to the deficit. In response to Republican demands, Democrats have covered the cost of all of the $112 billion package except for the unemployment benefits.
In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, Ms. Snowe said that a separate bill would disentangle the unemployment benefits from the larger fight.
“Separating the unemployment insurance provisions of the extenders bill and passing it as emergency legislation acknowledges the urgency of helping those who continue to look for work,” Ms. Snowe wrote. “Unemployment checks inject money directly into the economy, invariably assisting in the economic recovery we all agree must be accelerated.”
Senator Snowe said in a floor speech yesterday that she does not oppose extending unemployment benefits without an offset. Many Republican Senators won’t back an extension unless the spending is paid for. Democrats say the extensions constitute emergency spending.
(credit image – daylife/associated press)