The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 25, 2009

Congress votes: Unemployment extension

"We are perpetuating unemployment, not solving it."- Rep. John Linder, R, Ga.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Here's how area members of Congress voted in the week ending Sept. 25.

EXTENDED JOBLESS BENEFITS: Voting 331 for and 83 against, the House on Sept. 22, 2009, passed a bill (HR 3548) providing 13 more weeks of jobless checks for those in high-unemployment states whose current allotments have expired or soon will expire. The bill applies to at least 27 states with jobless rates of 8.5 percent or higher and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The bill would immediately benefit about 300,000 million long-term unemployed and help another one million by year's end, with the $1.4 billion cost offset mainly by payroll taxes on employers. Jobless checks average $300 per week. The bill would extend total benefits to as long as 21 months in the highest-unemployment states.

Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said economic recovery "will take time. There are still six unemployed workers for every available job, so extended unemployment compensation isn't a convenience; it's a necessity."

John Linder, R-Ga., said: "Since this extended benefits program was created in June 2008...unemployment rose from 5.8 percent ... to now 9.7 percent....We are perpetuating unemployment, not solving it."

About 42 million seniors and people with disabilities are enrolled in Medicare Part B. By law, about three-fourths are exempt from premium increases when there is no increase in Social Security payments.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

VOTE H-1 slugged JOBLESS

MINNESOTA Voting yes: Tim Walz, D-1, Betty

McCollum, D-4, Keith Ellison, D-5, Collin Peterson,

D-7, James Oberstar, D-8

Voting no: John Kline, R-2, Erik Paulsen, R-3,

Michele Bachmann, R-6

Not voting: None

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