WASHINGTON (AP/TNS/WMOT) — Legislation to renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed cleared an initial Senate hurdle, without the assistance of Tennessee’s Senate delegation.
The vote Tuesday was 60-37 to limit debate on the legislation, with a half-dozen Republicans siding with the Democrats.
As drafted, the bill would restore between 14 and 47 weeks of benefits -averaging $256 weekly - to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless who lost benefits Dec. 28.
Matt Mullen with Tennessee Citizen Action says there are about 20,000 long-term unemployed in Tennessee who still need the help.
“Yes, the economy is improving, but it’s really improving at a snail’s pace. And these individuals are trying to find work and just by cutting them off so abruptly, you know, we could just be doing a disservice to a lot of Tennesseans.”
Tennessee Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker voted against yesterday’s measure. Corker said in part, “Spending $6.5 billion in three months without trying to find ways to pay for it or improve the underlying policy is irresponsible.”