LeMieux Blocks Extension of Unemployment Benefits

Republican senator takes on Democrats and halts 'emergency' measure
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: October 1, 2010 4:05 AM
George LeMieux

Sen. George LeMieux. Credit:

Led by Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., Republicans shut down a Democratic effort to extend unemployment benefits in states with the highest jobless rates.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., had called for the Senate to pass, under unanimous consent, the “Americans Want to Work Act” on Wednesday. The bill would have added a fifth tier of unemployment insurance benefits in states with unemployment rates above 7.5 percent.

But LeMieux stepped in to oppose the measure, saying there was no funding source.

"Senate Republicans have and will vote to extend unemployment compensation if it is paid for. Easy to do, but Democrats won't support it," LeMieux said.

"While we're all certainly sympathetic and want to work to make people go back to work -- my home state of Florida certainly suffering with very high unemployment -- we need to know how we're going to pay for it so we don't put this debt on our children and grandchildren."

A fifth-tier extension would have given an additional 20 weeks of unemployment insurance (UI) pay to unemployed workers who had exhausted their benefits -- a population estimated at roughly 2 million.

The so-called "99 bill," referring to the current benefit ceiling of 99 weeks, would have extended payments to 119 weeks.

As they have during previous debates, Democrats argued that unemployment benefits help to stimulate the sagging economy.

"The reality for us in America is that we will never get out of debt with more than 15 million people out of work," Stabenow said.

LeMieux countered that a country with a $13.5 trillion deficit cannot afford to keep spending money it doesn't have.

Stabenow, who called the bill an emergency measure, vowed to continue to fight for passage, but the Senate and House adjourned hours later for their October recess and will not reconvene until after the Nov. 2 election.

To override LeMieux’s objection to using the unanimous consent provision, Democrats would have had to file a cloture petition and invoke cloture with 60 votes. Only if those time-consuming steps were taken could actual debate have begun.

LeMieux's office did not respond to Sunshine State News' request for comment, but the conservative Heritage Foundation says there are sound fiscal reasons to oppose yet another extension of unemployment benefits.

According to Heritage research:

•    Extending either the amount or the duration of unemployment benefits increases the length of time that workers remain unemployed.
•    Roughly one-third of workers receiving unemployment benefits find work immediately once their benefits expire. This happens both when unemployment is high and when unemployment is low, said a report in Industrial and Labor Relations Review.
•    Each 13-week extension of benefits increases the average length of time workers receiving benefits stay unemployed by approximately two weeks.
•    Families respond to unemployment benefits by reducing other income. Research in the Journal of Labor Economics found that wives’ earnings fall by between 36 and 73 cents for each dollar of benefits married men receive.

Commenting on the bill from the U.S. House, Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, shared LeMieux's concerns.

"In a best case scenario it (the bill extending unemployment benefits) would've only funded half the claims. (The bill) was very broadly written with no accountability," Posey said.

LeMieux, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill the seat vacated by retired Sen. Mel Martinez, is widely believed to be gearing up to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in 2012.


Contact Kenric Ward at or at (772) 801-5341.

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12:12AM OCT 4TH 2010
I really don't understand why so many people are going to vote for Republicans. Florida has very high unemployment, so why is LeMieux trying to block unemployment benefits? Why are the Republicans so concerned about deficits now? Where were they during the Bush years, when Bush borrowed and spent like a drunken sailor? If you include medical costs for wounded soldiers, Iraq cost us $3 trillion. Why didn't Republicans complain about that?
2:02AM OCT 5TH 2010
From what i have seen in the past is:

Rep = Support for big business and the rich.
Dem = Support for the public and working class.
7:41AM OCT 2ND 2010
26 weeks = unemployment
99 or 119 weeks = welfare
4:27PM OCT 7TH 2010
Yes... And you will be on welfare too if you're not able to find work. Who the fcuk are you to be so high on that horse? What have YOU DONE FOR THIS COUNTRY to act so different? Someone pave your way you son-of-a-bitch, you did not do it all alone so shut the fcuk up you self-righteous prick.
7:34AM OCT 2ND 2010
All of these comments about what the government owes you ... please ... a government powerful enough to give you all you want is also powerful enough to take all you have. What happened to the American ideals of self-sufficiency and hard work? GONE with the Democrat promises of what government can do for you.

Quit whining, get off your rear ends, find a job, and take care of your families. Quit waiting for tax payers and the government to do it for you.
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10:38AM MAR 22ND 2011
i will spell this out for u.unemployment is only paid to working taxpayers,that lost there job.ill make u a deal.ill come take your job let u live on unemployment.i have no one but me and i cant make it.ive spent everything i i dont even have 99 weeks is up.instead of arguying with u.i would like to appologize to everyone on sucked every paycheck more and more taxes taken out.then when u loose your job they tell u this is all u get and for how long.does this mean when i do go back to work that i only have to pay 99 weeks of can only back a person so far in the my only hope is to get arrested so i can eat [filtered word] and sleep.hell of a lot less stressful.ihave no rent money and way of paying anyting else.signed homeless in 2 weeks
4:38PM OCT 7TH 2010
I'll be "self-sufficiency" when the government stop taking taxes without providing me with a bill of expenditure and stop funding projects that I never approved. Stop whining???

You son-of-a-bitch.... go take an economic class, a political science class and a accounting class before you make such statement. If they want taxes to fund the common wealth, that's fine but when they have a surplus, give the money back to me or reinvest it in new projects and publish with a statement on the return on investment, and not waste it on bull[filtered word].

People like you will bend over just because the media tells you it's the new hype. You are the type of people we call cattle.

I work and pay taxes for security and insurance, otherwise I would just fund my own road, protection, and retained wealth. If the government can't provide a safety net, why the fcuk should I pay taxes? For what reason should I pay taxes? WHY???
2:49PM OCT 4TH 2010
Who is whining more than the wealthy who claim that they pay too much taxes. We didn't hear that type of complaining during the first great depression, why this one? Because they are greedy! They complain as if they are poor! How hard it is for them to pay for services in addition to that? Why Ben Stein has only 35% of his dollar after paying for services that keep him in business. Is he still in the top of earnings? YES! But complain they do! Its not like they pay 91% anymore! Its not like the 71% under Ragan! And who gets the BIG tax breaks and all the power? Blaming the Dems is just routine. The Republicans are very skilled at being rich! That takes something deceptive, and they know it! But they want the power, and that is all that matters!
Now, with foreclosures continuing to be high and the unemployment rate consistantly high (even with the doctored numbers) the Republicans want to balance the budget---as if that is possible to do in the next few Generations! If they want to pay for the 5th tier, then do it the way they payed for the cronie balouts and for the support to governments of other countries, and to support the military EMPIRE....etc, etc, etc. PRINT IT! There its done. Then get rid of their buddies THE CENTRAL BANKERS--like former presidents did, and return to constitutional money system. That would level the playing field, and that is NOT what theses power hungry, money addicts don't want. They still want to treat us like mis-behaving children....and if we let them, then we deserve what we get!
The Left- right paradigm is a ploy! Get out off the arena and LOOK at the game you are playing-- you are the event! They are not in the game, they are calling the plays, and its thumbs-up, or thumbs-down for us! If they could just kill us off they would! No, loins in the ring thouth---not yet!
8:06PM OCT 1ST 2010
they don't care about the american people, they only care about themselves. All of them are bunch of liars they promised to do this, do that blah blah blah I, I, I will. No actions just "I will"
get real
4:31PM OCT 1ST 2010
LePuke and Heritage BOTH are irresponsible blow hards.
LePuke has done NOTHING to help Florida. 14% unemployment, in the top three for forclosures,
where was HE in the Gulf spill? He was appointed, sat on his annointed butt-and now will leave with a fine pension and healthcare the rest of his rotten life.
Heritage???? It is now 2010....ya need tah' stop using dem-dere numbers from the 70's.
And your rag of an article sure lives up to the: 'RIGHT' Source for BUSINESS and POLITICS.
Arthur Howard
2:01PM OCT 1ST 2010
Funny but in Australia for one example,you can collect unemployment and have free health care as long as you are unemployed no matter the time.Yet the unemploynent rate is no more then 5% there.However,in the U.S.A the righties and too many others seem only concerned about the wealthy elite and their pimpin Republicans!
Sick of the spending
10:44PM OCT 1ST 2010
So move to Australia.

Life is a series of choices. You can choose to work hard, go without the frills, save money and have money saved when it comes time for a recession like this one.

Or you can choose to spend your money as you please then not have any when the hard times hit.

Just do me a favor. Don't ask the workers and savers to bail you out when times get tough.

Incidentally, the farmers need workers to replace the illegals. So get to work.
get real
4:35PM OCT 1ST 2010
Is it not amazing how America the Beautiful -has the UGLIEST attitude toward its' citizens?
Thank you Arthur!
1:26PM OCT 1ST 2010
I am tired of the Republicans talking about putting more debt on our children and grandchildren.

What do they think it is doing to the children right food on the table, no home to live in, no hope...

Start thinking about the present and stop thinking about the future generations.

12:28AM OCT 2ND 2010
Could not agree more with you.... I am also tired of hearing about lets worry about the poor "suffering deficit" instead of worrying about the people, this obsession with the deficit first and people second is bizarre I cannot understand it ...ever since I was growing up going to the Peace Corps and helping people around PEOPLE WERE FIRST, MONEY WAS SECOND...for these teabaggers MONEY IS FIRST, PEOPLE SECOND what is this???? there will always be ways to balance the budget and reduce the deficit, there can be very creative ways to manage the deficit and also when to do it ...but to sacrifice the people in the interest of the deficit is criminal!!
12:47PM OCT 1ST 2010
I think enough is enough, people aren't taking jobs ad they are getting more sitting at home! I know this for a fact!!
8:05PM OCT 2ND 2010

I work in human resources and can tell you that for every entry level position I post, I receive close to 300 applications within one week. For positions requiring a bachelor's degree or higher, we receive over 100 applications within a week. We can only hire one person for each position. I really don't think the problem is people not taking jobs.
6:26PM OCT 21ST 2010
I agree with you, is not that people do not want to work! is that for one position that is open 300 hundreds fighting to get it! we need more jobs! i do not think that people like to live with unemployment or welfare! i do not think that people want to loss their houses in foreclosure! I do not think that people want to spend the night thinking how they going to pay electricity< or phone or else. I think that we americans and not americans want the same; a country with prosperity! we want jobs! We also have to stop nepotism! I see it! I witness it! i know that happens everyday.
Companies that hire a friend of a friend. desqualified another to put on his place a friend. i
2:46PM OCT 1ST 2010
You have got to be kidding. I am in my early 50's and made a decent living until about 3 years ago when the economy tanked. I am now grateful for work that pays about 70% less than the last 15 years. It's a HORRIBLE job market out there. Staff in stores tell me that 20-40 people go in EVERYDAY looking for work. You must live in a Republican sub-division, since the rest of us are living in the real world. You wouldn't survive a month on unemployment benefits.
Arthur Howard
2:06PM OCT 1ST 2010
Yeah,when the Republicans gain back control again $300 a week is what many Americans will be reduced too or working for minimum wage or less.What a country!
1:23PM OCT 1ST 2010
lisa your an idiot. You make it sound like people are living high on the hog with their unemployment benefits. I'd like to see you live on 300 dollars a week. I use to make 130,000 a year and I still can't find a job at minimum wage. Wake up idiot. It's worst than the great depression out there but we don't see it due to the unemployment extensions. Wait until Nov 30th
and the Extensions end. And by the way they will be extended. If there not you'll see the Bread lines and crime go through the roof in this disgrace of a country. The only way back is to put an end to NAFTA and FREE TRADE. Screw the rest of the world AMERICA FIRST.
2:20PM OCT 1ST 2010
bill5 way to go people just dont freaking understand we are not lazy and we do want to work people like lisa need to realize that if there was jobs why would we be on here bitching about unemployment we would be working and as to the republicans there kids and grandkids and great grandkids are set for life with our tax money paying for it and on a video of the senate that debbie
stabenow was on saying the deficit will never go down until we have jobs in the US thats true and i wished the best for her and hope her and 99% of the other democrats can break the filabuster and go ahead and pass it because november will be the end of the republicans we got now they will no longer be a senate because im voting them out
Sick of the Spending
11:48AM OCT 1ST 2010
In Florida, individuals who receive social security can also receive unemployment benefits because social security does not count as income for unemployment compensation purposes. However, if an individual receives a pension from a private company, that pension does count as income for unemployment purposes.

Perhaps by closing this loophole - i.e. count social security payments as income for unemployment compensation purposes - a lot of state money could be saved and a lot of working families could receive benefits longer.

I personally know of retirees who collect both social security and unemployment but, trust me, have no intention of returning to work. They'll stay on the gravy train until it stops.
6:35PM OCT 1ST 2010
Sick of the spending-- You seriously don't have a clue about this, do you? There are only two states in the country that still use that outdated practice because they realized that it was impractical and unfair to deny benefits to seniors who are now have a much higher long term unemployment rate than younger workers.

Many seniors have been forced to take out SS early, at a much reduced rate, just to avoid absolute homelessness. $300 a week (and that's the MAX--many more of the unemployed never even get that maximum) is not enough to keep a roof over your head when there is no one who can take you in, unlike young workers who more often have the option to move back in with the family, and are more likely to get hired for jobs that require heavy physical labor or service work. (Not the the young are having an easy time either, I don't want to imply that.)

So cobbling together a survival existence with a few hundred from unemployment benefits plus a small SS check is the only way thousands of seniors here in Florida are even surviving.

If you want to cut costs, I agree there are too many wealthy seniors who really don't need their SS benefits check--if you want to cut spending, why not start with revising THAT policy instead of picking on unemployed and nearly destitute seniors who are barely managing to cope with this sudden financial loss, while at the same time having to cope with medical and other aspects of aging.
Sick of the spending
7:07PM OCT 1ST 2010
Then what will happen to them when the economy rebounds and the unemployment dries up? It will happen sooner or later anyway.
South FL
9:44AM OCT 1ST 2010
Once again, the Republicans that created this mess make the situation WORSE for the middle class. There are NO JOBS OUT THERE. St. Lucie county has laid off 24 police officers and many teachers were laid off last year. Republicans are willing to bail out banks and corporations...but the middle class once again takes the brunt of it. VOTE DEMOCRATIC THIS FALL!!!!
11:52AM OCT 1ST 2010
I'm confuse how can a Rep stop a bill house full of Demos for the poor 99ers? Going to be a blue day on Nov 2nd bye bye Reps have fun trying to get a job ahahahahah should of help us out but your greed killed America now Judgement day coming for your azz.

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