State legislators mark the mid-point of this year’s session knowing they have only laid the groundwork for the final weeks. One issue inmportant to thousands of Missourians is trapped in the senate.

Lawmakers are gone for ten days. About 23,000 Missourians will run out of unemployment benefits about two weeks after they come back to the capitol. Four senators have indicated it’s more important to them to send a message to Washington about federal overspending than to accept $81 milliion for 20 more weeks of jobless benefits. They have blocked a vote on a bill allowing Missouri to get those federal funds.

St. Louis Senator Jim Lembke, who has built the barrier, has indicated there will be more of this.

Senate Leader Rob Mayer indicates the motivating issue behind the four-man roadblock on jobless benefits is the structure of the entire state budget, one-third of which is federal money.

No other state has rejected the federal funds for jobless benefits.

Listen to Sens. Mayer and Dempsey 12:28 mp3