Senate Republican leaders put off vote to extend unemployment benefits

The Missouri Senate adjourned before noon on Thursday without making a decision on extending unemployment benefits for more than 20,000 Missourians without jobs.

The plan calls for the state to accept $81 million in federal money. The money would extend the maximum length of jobless benefits from 79 to 99 weeks for Missourians.

Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, opposes the bill, saying Missouri lawmakers need to send a message to Washington.

“You have the federal government stealing from this generation and generations to come by spending money they don’t have,” Lembke said.

Lembke also says that nearly two years of jobless benefits is too long.

Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensberg, is the sponsor of the bill and says that people collecting unemployment would much rather have a job.

“For those who have a job it’s pretty easy to say that’s too long, but when you’re suffering and can’t find a job, that’s tough,” Pearce said.

Republican leaders say they will meet over the next week to discuss the bill.

The extended benefits for an estimated 23,000 Missourians will run out on April 3.

– Missouri Digital News