Missouri governor signs benefit extension for unemployed

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 13, 2011 4:21 PM
Missouri governor signs benefit extension for unemployed

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday restored federal unemployment benefits for 10,000 people in the state whose checks were cut off April 2 by a Republican filibuster in the state senate.

The logjam was broken last week when a compromise was reached with a group of lawmakers, led by Republican Sen. Jim Lembke, who wanted to reject $105 million in funding from federal aid and send the money back to Washington to help reduce the federal deficit.

The Missouri Senate agreed to cut state support for the unemployed from 26 to 20 weeks in order to assure passage of the federal extension. Michigan recently made a similar cut in its support for jobless benefits.

"I appreciate the leaders from both sides of the aisle who joined me in standing up for Missouri families who need our help now to put food on the table, fill prescriptions and keep the lights on," Nixon said at the signing ceremony in his Jefferson City office.

As part of the compromise, Senate leaders agreed to make $250 million in cuts in already-approved federal stimulus projects, but the Missouri House has yet to agree to that portion of the process.

The extension goes to jobless in Missouri who have exhausted 79 weeks of unemployment. The week that was missed will be paid retroactively. Nixon also said an additional 24,000 unemployed could receive extended assistance until January 7, 2012.

(Reporting and writing by Bruce Olson; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Peter Bohan)