Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says any extension of long-term unemployment benefits must be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere.
Long-term unemployment compensation expired on December 28. Sixty Senators, mostly Democrats, voted Tuesday to open debate on legislation that would extend the program for three months.
Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul voted against the procedure. In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to improve the job prospects of those looking for work.
"Yes, we should work on solutions to support those who are out of work through no fault of their own. But there is no excuse to pass unemployment insurance legislation without also finding ways to create good, stable, high-paying jobs--and also trying to find the money to pay for it," Sen. McConnell said Tuesday.
"So what I'm saying is, let's support meaningful job creation measures, and let's find a way to pay for these UI (unemployment insurance) benefits so we're not adding to an already unsustainable debt."
Those supporting another extension of long-term unemployment benefits say the program’s lapse has unfairly led to serious economic hardships for many Americans who haven’t been able to find work despite their best efforts.
The program was created in 2008 and has been extended 11 times since ending Dec. 28. While another extension seems likely in the Senate, the measure’s prospects are far less certain in the House.