State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond on Friday urged U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss to support extension of unemployment insurance and other benefits set to expire Sunday.
The development may have two implications.
It could be a sign that Thurmond, a Democrat, isn’t ready to be dismissed from the contest for lieutenant governor. Secondly, it could be an indication that the sudden filibuster by a lone GOP senator could quickly become a problem for Republicans.
Here’s the background from Politico.com:
Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) defiant stand against that effort has put his party in a jam: should it back the eccentric Republican over his concerns about deficit spending, or should it cut him loose and let him take the sole blame for the discomfort caused by Congress’ failure to act?
And the answer to that question grows even thornier given that the senior senator from his state is Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader who has grown apart from Bunning over the past year.
Before Bunning took the extraordinary move of mounting a single-handed battle against the bill, McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) agreed to move it – meaning that if the GOP leader sided with Bunning he’d be accused of flip-flopping on their agreement and for holding up a range of benefits for millions.
On the floor Thursday night, some GOP senators and staff urged Bunning to drop his objection, aides said Friday.
At issue is the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. From a press release issued by Thurmond:
“Without the proposed extension, benefits to about 8,000 laid-off Georgia workers currently receiving state extended benefits will be cut off starting Monday,” said Thurmond.
“It is critical that the U.S. Congress extend these benefits and thereby provide much-needed additional relief to these laid-off workers. Our state’s job market is not yet strong enough to absorb the thousands of Georgia’s unemployed workers who are exhausting their benefits without being able to find jobs.”
Currently, in Georgia 198,000 laid-off workers are receiving federal EUC. Georgia lost a revised 204,300 jobs in 2009. The current unemployment rate in Georgia is 10.3 percent.
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