Sen. Deb Fischer opposes a move to extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed, unless changes are made to the bill.
Fischer says the Senate currently is in the wrong debate.
“We need to talk about job creation. I hear that from Nebraskans all the time. We need to turn this economy around and create good jobs,” Fischer tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “We’re pretty fortunate in Nebraska, but we have a number of people who are still looking for work.”
The Senate has voted to move forward with debate on legislation which would extend benefits for the long-term unemployed for three months. The bill would affect 1.3 million Americans. It would cost $6.5 billion. It must clear a final vote before moving on to the House.
Fischer says fiscal concerns caused her to vote against a procedural motion to move the legislation forward.
“Well, unless we can amend the bill so that we can pay for that 6.5 billion that’s going to be added to our deficit in the current bill, to me that’s not going to help the economy,” Fischer says.
Long-term unemployment benefits ended at the end of last year. State unemployment benefits generally run for 26 weeks. In wake of the 2008 recession, Congress granted authorization for emergency federal unemployment benefits up to 99 weeks.
Fischer understands the economic recovery remains weak.
“But, we can’t keep extending what was supposed to be emergency payments to people who have been unemployed for a number of weeks that is turning into months that is turning in some cases to years.”