Senator Josh Stein says it is ‘callous to the first degree’ for Republicans to continue to the impasse over an extension of federal jobless benefits, demanding first a compromise from Governor Bev Perdue.

The Democratic Whip acknowledges that thousands of additional North Carolinians are now  being affected by this stalemate, not just the 37,000 individuals initially reported.

“They have been doing everything to find work, and they can’t,” said Stein. “Yet they still have mortgage payments, or rent payments, and car payments.”

Stein says this issue is unrelated to the state budget, and there is no middle ground where the governor can compromise.

The Wake County Senator believes the General Assembly could pass the bill in less than a day, if Republican leaders in the majority would allow it to move forward. For a preview of Sen. Stein’s weekend radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below:

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The number of unemployed North Carolinians who had their benefits suddenly cut off when their  federally-funded benefits were held up by GOP state legislators has grown.

As many as 45,400 may be affected, according to rough estimates provided by N.C. Employment Security Commission spokesman Larry Parker

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Are you one of the 37,000 jobless North Carolinians that had benefits stopped because of a fight over the state budget? Live near Charlotte and want to say something about it?

Well, you can on Monday.

The N.C. Justice Center, the parent organization for those of here at N.C. Policy Watch, and the N.C. AFL-CIO are organizing a rally late Monday morning in Charlotte to highlight the plight of the 37,000 North Carolinians that have been without their unemployment benefits since April 16.
Here’s some of the basic details:

WHO: Unemployed workers, AFL-CIO and NC Justice Center
WHAT: Press conference backing extension of unemployment benefits
WHEN: Monday, May 16, 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: At a Charlotte, NC Employment Security Commission Office:
5601 Executive Center Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, NC 28212
People being affected are asked to show up, if they’re able, and have a chance to talk about their situation. More information about the rally/press conference available here.

House Speaker Thom Tillis reiterated Wednesday that his chamber would not be acting on legislation to restore jobless benefits to more than 37,000 North Carolinians until Governor Bev Perdue was willing to compromise.

Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt says Republicans are continuing to try and force the governor to “take this sorry budget they’re pushing…. and swallow it whole.”

Nesbitt, who appears on News and Views this weekend, says the majority has the power to pass a “clean bill” in less than a day and help the long-term jobless, who are now facing heartbreaking decisions. The Buncombe County Democrat adds that the benefits issue should never have been tied to passage of the 2012 budget.

For a preview of Senator Nesbitt’s radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below:

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(For those who missed it this morning on Legislative Watch, check out this powerful article by N.C. Policy Watch crack reporter, Sarah Ovaska):

Greg and Elizabeth Rain Georgaras, two of the 37,000 North Carolinians cut off from their employment benefits four weeks ago, can no longer afford to keep their two young children with them.

It recently fell to family to take in Roger, 3, and Victoria, 2, while the Concord couple keeps looking for work and hope that their unemployment benefits are restored soon.

“They’re no longer with me,” Greg said. “I just couldn’t keep them in these types of surroundings, not having food and the electricity about to be cut off.” Read More