Updated at 2:45 pm — see below…
The debate in Washington over the extension of critical unemployment insurance benefits appears to have taken a troubling (if sadly predictable) turn. According to folks “in the know” in DC, the business lobby is pushing members of the Senate, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan, to endorse a proposal that would make it possible for states like North Carolina to slash worker benefits.
Here’s the skinny: In order to assure that federal unemployment benefit extensions have their full, intended impact (both for families in need and the economy as a whole) the normal practice has been for Congress to forbid states that the accept the extended federal aid from turning around and cutting benefit levels.
This time, however, it appears that business interests are putting on a strong push to do away with this protection — thus providing a gift for conservative state legislatures (ring any bells?) that have been chomping at the bit to cut benefits (which currently average a whopping $280/week).
Let’s hope Hagan, who has already done her share of succumbing to the corporate crowd in recent months, keeps the wolves at bay this time.
(Updated at 2;45 pm. – A Hagan staffer has informed worker advocates that she will not be a part of any such effort. Thank goodness).