WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) -- The U.S. Senate is still considering a proposal to extend Unemployment benefits another three months. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin supports the extension, but is worried there may not be enough votes to pass it. “There are some strong concerns that we may not have enough Republican support to pass this emergency measure, and that gives me great concern because I know how desperately needed it is.”
Baldwin says the package being debated would extend benefits three months. She says Senator Dean Heller, a conservative Republican from Nevada, was willing to go three months but no further, and Baldwin says that’s why we’re debating just a three month proposal. Baldwin believes the Unemployment extension needs to be longer. “I frankly think that this is probably going to be needed for a longer period of time, depending on the state and part of the country, and how bad unemployment is, but we know that there are three job seekers for every job opening.”
Baldwin’s Republican counterparts and a handful of Democrats are wondering where the money is going to come from to pay for the extension. Most Republicans want to see budget cuts to pay for the extension. Democratic Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin suggests using money now allocated to farm program subsidies that currently go to large corporate and foreign agricultural interests. Senator Baldwin says this needs to be passed without arguing about how it gets paid for. “Most of the time, there have not been, you know, other cuts made to pay for it, and that’s because it is regarded as an emergency. It does need to happen with some speed, and the debate over the pay for it tends to slow this down and create a lot of pain and suffering.”
The Senate vote late Wednesday failed to pass the Unemployment extension, as Republicans insisted on cutting budget items to offset the cost. The matter may come back up in the Senate again this week.
Our interview with Senator Tammy Baldwin can be heard on our website, here. She discusses Unemployment, the Farm Bill, and a proposal to raise the minimum wage.