MO Statehouse
7:11 pm
Wed March 2, 2011

Mo. Senate filibuster blocking $81 million in unemployment benefits

Some Republicans in the Missouri Senate are blocking legislation to draw down $81 million in federal unemployment benefits.

The funding would go to Missouri residents who've been out of work for more than 79 weeks, and a State House bill authorizing the draw down must be passed by Thursday or else the money will go to other states.

The filibuster is being led by State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay).

"I think it's about time that the states start saying 'no' to this federal money that's being borrowed from China (and) that is making up the $1.6 trillion debt that we have in this nation," Lembke said.

Lembke is also getting assistance from a few Republican freshmen.  The GOP leadership is not backing Lembke's maneuver, but it is unlikely that they would move to end a filibuster by a member of their own party.

State Senator Jolie Justus (D, Kansas City) calls the filibuster a bad policy decision.

"Missourians need this (money)," Justus said.  "It's irresponsible to send the money back, and I think they should do everything in their power to get it passed within the deadline."