Missouri has missed a deadline for getting federal funds to let people collecting unemployment keep getting checks for an additional twenty weeks if needed. But the cause is not lost.
Eighty-million federal dollars are available to make the payments. But state law says the state cannot get the money after March 3rd. The effort to eliminate that drop-dead date for the program has been blocked by Senators who don’t want to take the money. They want to send a message to Washington that the federal government must quit overspending.
The bill’s sponsor, David Pearce of Warrensburg does not understand their logic. Where do you draw the line. Is all federal money bad?” he asks, “About nine percent of our education money is from Washington…Should we turn down education dollars? I have a veterans home back home. Should we turn down VA dollars? The logic just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Missouri has a two week grace period to pass a bill with a new termination date. Pearce says he’s prepared to spend a couple of overnights in the senate if that’s what it takes to break the filibuster.
Opponents also say extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks is too much, an argument Pearce says that can be easily made by people who are not unemployed.