Kathleen Peters supports extension of unemployment benefits as Senate bill clears hurdle

01/07/14 Seán Kinane
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Tags: Kathleen Peters, David Jolly, Unemployment, jobs, Bill Young, Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson John Boehner, Patty Murray


Republican candidates (from left) David Jolly, Mark Bircher and Kathleen Peters

photo by Janelle Irwin

A Pinellas County Republican hoping to join Congress this year, Kathleen Peters, released a statement supporting an extension in unemployment benefits Tuesday. Peters wrote “I am calling on Congress to stop this partisan gridlock and pass a three month reinstatement of unemployment benefits that is paid for in full.”

In polls, Peters is trailing lobbyist David Jolly in next Tuesday’s Republican Primary for the seat in Congress that’s open following the death of long-time U.S. Representative Bill Young.

Tuesday in the Senate, White House-backed legislation to renew benefits for people who have been out of work for months cleared an initial hurdle. That clears the way for bipartisan negotiations in the opening days of an election-year session of Congress.

The vote was 60-37 to limit debate on the three-month legislation, with a half-dozen Republicans siding with Democrats, like Patty Murray from Washington, on the test vote.

"And as much as we are heartened by the headlines that predict a strong economy this year, we understand just how fragile our recovery still is with millions of Americans still out of work. Madam President, now is the time to redouble our efforts, not shrink from the challenges that we face because the truth is that all the economic predictions in the world mean nothing if we don't continue to support policies that help our middle class and that work absolutely starts with extending unemployment benefits to the millions of Americans who've been losing their benefits since December 28th. Because unemployment assistance goes right back into the economies of communities large and small and non-partisan economists have found it is one of the most effective ways build a recovery that lasts. Those same economists have said that failure to continue these will cost us over 200,000 jobs and renewing these benefits is simply the right thing to do at a time when millions of American families continue to teeter on the brink in states where unemployment remains stubbornly high."

Florida Democrat Bill Nelson voted for the extension and Republican Marco Rubio voted against it.

But the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said he and his rank and file would seek changes so the bill's $6.4 billion dollar cost would not add to deficits.

Senate Democrats have so far rejected that approach, although there were signs they would eventually yield.

Shortly after the Senate vote, House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, issued a statement expressing views similar to McConnell's.

information from the Associated Press was used in this report

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