Missouri Next to Cut Jobless Benefits
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a law this week making the state the first in the nation to cut the number of weeks that the state pays unemployment insurance. The law trims benefits from 26 to 20 weeks in a state that has among the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Now, a group of four conservative state senators in Missouri is leading a revolt against federal unemployment money, making the state the first in the nation to opt out of a stimulus program that offers extended benefits to the jobless. Through a series of filibusters, the Republican legislators have stymied a vote on legislation that would extend the benefits. About 10,000 residents will lose their unemployment checks starting next week.
The AP notes that the filibusters represent "a stunning setback for a bill that had passed the Republican-led House 123-14 two months ago and had the support of GOP Senate leaders and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon."
"We have to take a stand and say 'When is enough enough?' and send a message to the federal government, and hopefully shame them into doing the right thing and quit spending money that they don't have," Republican state Senator Jim Lembke told the AP.
Arkansas and Florida are among the other states considering a similar curtailing of unemployment benefits.