Missouri unemployment benefits
5:29 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Nixon criticizes Mo. Senate for blocking federal dollars

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon took the Republican-led Missouri Senate to task today for blocking federal aid for public schools and thousands of unemployed workers.   

Jobless benefits end Saturday for 10,000 of out-of-work Missouri residents because a group of Senators, led by Jim Lembke (R, Lemay), has been blocking the enabling bill.  Lembke says they’re sending a message that Washington needs to rein in spending.

But Nixon says the loss of aid will hit unemployed Missourians hard.

“Folks use unemployment assistance to put food on the table, to fill prescriptions, to keep their cars running," Nixon told reporters at a news conference in his State Capitol office.  "These funds are a critical investment, an investment that leads to new jobs and growth.”

Nixon says make-up payments can be made later, if the Senate passes the bill this session.  It would authorize $105 million in extended unemployment benefits.

He also called on another group of GOP Senators to cease blocking $189 million in federal aid for K-12 schools.  The governor says the move puts Missouri’s school children at risk.

“School districts are relying upon those funds in the supplemental budget to meet payroll and other expenses this school year," Nixon said.  "If Missouri turns these funds away, they will go to other schools in other states.”

Two St. Louis-area Senators, John Lamping (R, St. Louis) and Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale), are blocking legislation to rework the state’s K-12 funding formula and draw down $189 million from Washington.  Lamping and Schmitt expressed concern that schools in their districts would be harmed by reworking the funding formula.