The deal is done….but it’s not an entirely done deal to provide 20 more weeks of unemployment benefits for Missouri’s long-term unemployed. The month-long on-and-off-again senate filibuster has ended. Filibuster ringleader Jim Lembke puts it simply—“I won,” he says.
He and his three filibustering allies have ended their blockade by accepting a deal that commits the senate to cutting 250-million federal stimulus dollars from a 550-milion dollar appropriations bill. In addition the senate has voted to cut six weeks off the benefits for future unemployed Missourians. The House has to approve the deals, brokered by Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer.
Mayer says the deal will let Lembke can send his message to Washington that the federal government should not be sending money to Missouri that the federal government does not have. “How effective that message is, I question,” says Mayer.
Mayer says he has talked with Speaker Steven Tilley about the deal. He says Tilley has made no promises but want to look at the bill. The House approved the bill by a lopsided vote more than a month ago but will have to consider senate changes….
If the House refuses to go along with the senate—that’s all the better as far as Lembke is concerned. Instead of 250-milion dollars in federal money that Missouri won’t use, the amount will reach about 550-million dollars.
A final vote on the unemployment bill is expected Monday afternoon. Before the state can accept the funding, the House has to accept some changes made in the bill by the senate and the governor will have to sign it.