Ohio lawmakers at odds over jobless benefits extension - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Ohio lawmakers at odds over jobless benefits extension

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (01/08/2014) - The fight is still on for nearly 130,000 unemployed Ohio workers who lost their federal unemployment benefits last month. The United States Senate took a step towards extending those benefits for another three months in a bill that would cost 6.4 billion dollars earlier this week. A final vote in the Senate is expected later this week and now lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are reacting.

"Each individual family's story would be enough reason for us to go forward with this," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader, during a Democratic rally in the U.S. Capitol.

Democratic leaders are trying to gain support from Republicans to pass an extension of emergency unemployment benefits.

Since December 28th, more than one million Americans have been without those benefits.

Republicans, such as Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), are saying the extension will be too costly, and their priority is getting people back to work.

"One of the things that is not being talked about over in the Senate right now is how are we going to pay for this?" Latta said. "You know they are saying let's just go ahead and pass it. Well, what do you do? You add that to the debt."

Latta said extending the benefits is just a short-term solution to a very real problem. A problem he thinks is going to end up right back on President Obama's doorstep.

"What we want to see people have is good paying jobs," Latta said. "And that is one of the things that this administration and this president isn't talking about."

Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) said she wants the chance to vote yes to extending emergency benefits.

"We've not had this level of long term unemployment since WWII," Kaptur said.

Kaptur even has her own plan for how she wants to pay for the extension.

"If one did just a one percent cut across all accounts in the rest of the government you could afford to extend benefits for three months and that would give the Ways and Means Committee enough time to come up with a more permanent funding source," Kaptur said.

So far, Kaptur's plan doesn't have traction. She said she is pleading with Ohio Republican and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote.

Her pleading is lost on most Republicans.

"First of all the, bill would never come to the floor. In my opinion, leadership would never bring this bill to the floor," Latta said.

Though that is Latta's opinion, it is certainly one based on some very realistic political truth.

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