A group of fiscally conservative Republicans in the Missouri Senate are willing to end their filibuster of a bill to draw down federal unemployment benefits, if Democratic Governor Jay Nixon agrees to reject $300 million in federal stimulus funds.
Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) has been leading the effort. He says the $300 million covers several “pork barrel pet projects.”
“One in particular is $170 million for weather stripping, energy efficiency, of homes," Lembke said. "There’s another one in there, $22 million, for a study on high-speed rail.”
Lembke, along with Senators Brian Nieves (R, Washington, Mo.), Will Kraus (R, Lee's Summit) and Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph), have been blocking $105 million in extended jobless benefits since early March.
“It’s monies again that the federal government doesn’t have, that they sent to Missouri, and my goal has always been to reject as much of that money as possible," Lembke said. "My fight has not been with the unemployed in Missouri, it’s with a federal government that’s living beyond its means.”
In response, Governor Nixon’s office released a statement, pledging to work with Senate leaders to restore unemployment benefits and to draw down federal funds for public schools.
The statement made no mention of the $300 million in federal stimulus funds Lembke and his colleagues want the governor to reject.