Senator Mike Johanns today voted against proceeding to an extension of unemployment insurance benefits after his more fiscally responsible alternative was shut out. The original legislation would tax businesses a total of $2.4 billion for an additional 18 months in order to pay for the unemployment benefits extension. Instead of supporting that bill, Johanns proposed an alternative that would have provided the same unemployment benefits, but it would have been paid for with unspent stimulus funds.
"With unemployment nearing 10 percent nationally, it may make sense to extend unemployment insurance, but why do so at the expense of those who provide the jobs?" Johanns said. "Much of the stimulus funding that has contributed to our record budget deficit is projected to remain untouched until 2011 with some not going out the door until 2018. It is far more practical to put this money in the hands of those who will stimulate the economy without further discouraging businesses from hiring new employees."
Both bills would extend unemployment benefits for 14 more weeks, and an additional six weeks for states with an unemployment level above 8.5 percent.