Wisconsin Senators Split on Unemployment Debate in Congress - WBAY

Wisconsin Senators Split on Unemployment Debate in Congress

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Debate continues this week in Congress on whether to extend long-term unemployment benefits.

On December 28, a five-year-old emergency federal program expired.

It provided up to 47 extra weeks of unemployment benefits, affecting about 1.3 million Americans.

The question now is whether to extend the program.

"I'm highly concerned about all the unemployment in this nation," Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said Sunday morning on UpFront with Mike Gousha. "We just got a terrible jobs report coming out."

Johnson, along with Senate Republicans, say if they're to vote for an extension, it must be paid for and that Democrats must negotiate.

"At some point, four-and-a-half years into a recovery," he said. "Maybe that emergency, temporary service ought to end. But at a minimum, if we're going to move forward and consider this, it has to be paid for."

Democrats say it's a must to pass an extension.

Friday the government reported the economy added just 74,000 jobs in December.

The average was 214,000 jobs each month the previous four months.

"It's the rent check, the grocery store bill, filling up your tank for gas," Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said. "Unfortunately the debate over offsets has sort of infused politics into what I believe ought to be a very straight-forward approach to dealing with a crisis, with an emergency."

Senate leaders say the hope to have a deal early this week.

Debate continues Monday.

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