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Government and Politics


Brown isn't sold yet on Portman's unemployment compromise
Ohio's Democratic senator wants to know the cost of Portman's proposal in terms of jobs
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
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CORRECTION: Sen. Kelly Ayotte is not a cosponsor of the unemployment pay-for bill Sen. Portman has introduced. She was a cosponsor with Portman on a military retiree cost-of-living-adjustment bill.

Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says he’s come up with a way to pay for a three-month extension in federal unemployment benefits. One of those he’ll have to convince is his fellow Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

 

LISTEN: Brown on the Portman plan

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Portman was a surprise when he voted to advance the benefits bill for debate. But even then, he said he has concerns about how to cover the $6.4 billion cost.

Now he says he and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte have come up with a way: people who get unemployment benefits and Social Security disability insurance or trade adjustment assistance should lose one of the other.

Sherrod Brown says he has to look closer at the proposal to know if he’ll support it. But he has a concern tied to the second of the two arguments for unemployment insurance: That it helps boost the economy overall, not just get someone through a crisis.

“I’m always concerned when you take money out of somewhere else that it does have a dampening effect on the economy. So I want to look at it with that in mind. Economists say this will create 200,000 jobs, extending unemployment for this three months.  I don’t know what this amendment that Rob and Kelly are doing, how many jobs that will cost the economy. I assume it might.”

Brown maintains that other efforts, such as curbing currency manipulation by the Chinese and eliminating tax breaks when American companies move oversees would be a better way to eliminate the need for unemployment payments. 

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