Senate Adjourns Without Acting On Jobless Benefits

Wisconsin senators have adjourned until next Tuesday, without acting on the bill to extend jobless benefits for up to 40-thousand residents. Republicans in the Senate and Assembly do not agree on whether to require a one-week waiting period when applying for unemployment checks. The waiting period was placed into the new state budget. Senators took it out on Tuesday, but Assembly Republicans put it back Wednesday. Now, the ball’s back in the Senate’s court. Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon says the disagreement will be resolved, but maybe not until September. Senate leaders say they want a deal sooner than that. Democrats, meanwhile, accuse the G-O-P of “toying” with the long-term unemployed who’ve used up 73 weeks of jobless benefits – and would be eligible to get 13 more weeks once lawmakers pass the bill to allow it. The measure would free up 89-million-dollars in federal stimulus funds for jobless benefits. And these funds do not have to be paid back – unlike the one-point-four billion dollars the state borrowed from Washington to keep the benefits flowing during the recession. Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller said the new benefits are being held up due to quote, “incredible incompetence” or “cold-hearted calculation.”