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Government and Politics

Portman and Brown come down on opposite sides of unemployment vote
Portman says Democrats backed off of pay-for provisions; Brown says it's a matter of justice

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
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Ohio U.S. senators have once again come down on opposite sides of a key political issue: not just in their votes but in how they frame the issue.

WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown’s take on the failed attempt to extend unemployment benefits.

LISTEN: Brown and Portman on cloture vote

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All 53 Democratic senators as well as two independents and four Republicans voted to end the filibuster. But the three-month extension still needed one more vote to get to a vote, and it wasn’t getting it from Republican Rob Portman.

Portman said his first concern is that Democrats were backing away from a proposal to pay for  much of the $6.4 billion cost by keeping people from collecting both unemployment and certain disability payments. 

“This is something that I proposed and then Harry Reid took my proposal, reduced it somewhat narrowed it further but we supported what he came up with and somehow that’s been dropped from the pay-for, which I think is a mistake.

“Second, the pension smoothing does have concerns because we don’t want to put the taxpayers on the hook for pensions.” 

Democrat Sherrod Brown paints the extension as a matter of justice. 

“This is insurance, you pay into it when you’re working. And you get assistance, about $300 a week on the average when you’re laid off, but you have to be looking for work. We’ve done this bi-partisanly for years.”

Some Republicans maintain that extending the benefits will be a disincentive for people to look for jobs. 

Listener Comments:

Rob Portman: I would like you to live a working mans life.And get laidoff and know what its like. You could not live one week in the shoes of the working mans life.I did not ask to be laidoff.I was very happly to work 40 hours a week.Thanks to you my home of 14 years is going to be forclosed.Just needed a litte more time to find work.Thank you.

Posted by: william (usa) on February 7, 2014 2:02AM
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