August 1, 2011
Senate Republicans Switch Vote, Placing Politics Above Displaced Workers
– Republican Senators placed their extreme ideology above the interests of Wisconsin’s displaced workers today when they flip-flopped on their previous vote to remove the one-week unemployment benefits delay that was inserted into Governor Walker’s budget.
“The only reason I can think of as to why Republicans initially voted for the amendment with a bipartisan voice vote only to vote against the same amendment later is that they are using our family, friends and neighbors that have been displaced from their jobs as pawns to sacrifice in a game of political chess,” said Sen. Chris Larson (D–Milwaukee).
Last month the Senate and Assembly passed different versions of Senate Bill 147. The simple legislative change proposed in Senate Bill 147 would allow Wisconsin to capture nearly $90 million from the federal government to extend unemployment benefits to help Wisconsin’s displaced workers while they continue looking for jobs during these tough economic times. These funds would not need to be repaid to the federal government.
Today’s vote was on an amendment, which sought to increase the burden on Wisconsin’s displaced workers by forcing them to arbitrarily wait one week before obtaining unemployment compensation. This legislation should have been signed into law last month, but has been at a standstill until today as a result of Republicans in the Senate and Assembly failing to work together to reach a consensus.
“Displaced workers statewide have already been harmed by the irresponsible actions of Republicans to delay action on this bill until today,” said Sen. Larson. “I have neighbors whose benefits expired while waiting for Republicans to halt their infighting and reach an agreement. This is inexcusable.”