Washington — Democrats blasted the House GOP leadership Thursday for recessing for one week without voting on reviving emergency unemployment benefits.
“It’s disgraceful,” said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, who has led the drumbeat on Capitol Hill to restore the benefits that expired Dec. 28 for 1.3 million Americans and more than 44,000 in Michigan.
U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, gathered the signatures of 115 House members, including all of Michigan’s Democrats, in a letter urging House Speaker John Boehner to call a vote on unemployment.
“We need to cancel this recess now and get to work,” Peters, a candidate for U.S. Senate, said Thursday.
Boehner has said he’d be open to an extension if the increased spending were offset by other budget cuts and includes job-creating provisions, such as approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, agreed, saying the best solution to unemployment is for the Senate to take up the GOP’s proposals on job training and creation.
“If we’re going to extend it again then it better be paid for and not on the backs of employees and employers,” Walberg said Thursday of the emergency unemployment benefits.
House Democrats acknowledge the best hope for a vote remains in the Democratic-led Senate. On Tuesday, however, legislation failed to advance in the upper chamber, putting off the possibility for another vote until likely next month.