Unemployment benefits expire for about 10,000 Missourians

Unemployment benefits for about 10,000 Missourians will expire Saturday for those who have reached their 79-week limit for coverage.

On Thursday, state Sen. Jolly Justice, D-Kansas City, delivered an emotional rebuke against four of her colleagues who had blocked passage in the Missouri Senate of a measure to authorize use of federal funds to extend benefits another 20 weeks.

“So I want you to go home this weekend and talk to those families who will no longer be able to feed themselves because we’re cutting off their benefits,” Justice said in a breaking voice.

Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, has been the leader in a filibuster that blocked the Senate from voting on accepting the federal funds. He was joined by

Lembke argued that the federal government is being reckless in spending money it has to borrow to expand the benefits.

“The states are going to have to band together and say we’re no longer going to be willing accomplices in what you’re doing to our nation and to the next generation,” Lembke said after Justice’s rebuke.

The House passed authorization to spend the funds by an overwhelming majority nearly two months ago.

The measure is one of two bills involving federal funds that Lembke and other fiscal conservatives in the Senate have blocked from getting a vote. Also stalled is authorization to provide $190 million of one-time federal funds to public schools. It passed the House a month ago without a single negative vote.

– Missouri Digital News