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Unemployment extension stalled until after recess, Harkin concedes
Although U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin was hopeful Thursday morning that his colleagues would take one more crack at passing an extension of long-term unemployment insurance benefits, his office has confirmed that there will be no more action on any measures taken until after the Independence Day recess.
“He is still committed to getting this extension passed and is hopeful we will take it up when we return,” Harkin’s spokeswoman Kate Cyrul told The Iowa Independent via e-mail, noting that Harkin hoped to drive home the point that the Senate needs to act on the extension as quickly as possible.
Most pundits believe that Senate Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., won’t attempt passage of the bill, which failed in the Senate Wednesday night by one vote, until a replacement has been seated for the late U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, W.V. By the time that replacement is seated, likely in mid-July, an estimated two million Americans will have lost benefits.
The U.S. House passed the extension Thursday afternoon on a 270-153 vote.
Harkin and many economists throughout the nation agree that government spending on unemployment benefits is one of the best uses of public money during a recession because it results in direct stimulation of the economy.