Lawmakers Blame Each Other For Collapse Of Unemployment Benefits Plan | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Lawmakers Blame Each Other For Collapse Of Unemployment Benefits Plan

Lawmakers in the region are pointing fingers over who's to blame for not extending long-term unemployment benefits.

Before lawmakers left town last week, 10 senators unveiled a plan to extend long-term unemployment benefits, which expired at the end of last year. Now Speaker John Boehner is throwing cold water on the plan, saying it's unworkable for states to back pay benefits that lapsed at the end of 2013. Boehner is calling on Democrats to pass GOP bills aimed at unwinding regulations and expanding oil and gas exploration, which Republicans say will create jobs.

Northern Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly says this issue will play an important role in November's elections. "You know, this is one of those questions where you can see a difference, I think, in values," Connolly says. "Something like close to 40 percent of the unemployed in America are long-term unemployed. And the devastation to those individuals and their families is really quite serious."

With the two parties still wrangling over the details, more than a million people are still wondering if they'll receive their unemployment checks.

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