In Arizona, the unemployment rate is roughly 9.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, many Arizonans who have lost their jobs, like many other Americans, do not receive unemployment benefits, and many more stand to lose them in the coming weeks. The 2010 Unemployment Extension bill currently before the Senate seeks to assist many Arizona citizens, and all unemployed Americans, by extending the deadlines for filing for jobless benefits until November 30, 2010.
AZ Senators McCain and Kyl: ‘No’ Vote On Pre-Recess Unemployment Extension Vote
For Arizona Senators John McCain (R) and Jon Kyl (R), who are currently enjoying the July 4 Senate recess (which lasts for ten days), the 2010 Unemployment Extension bill isn’t a pressing matter. Giving priority to their vacation time instead participating in a floor vote on a bill that affects millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of their own Arizona constituents, Senator John McCain and Jon Kyl voted last Wednesday to continue to block the 2010 Unemployment Extension bill from reaching the floor for a vote.
Earlier this year, Senator Jon Kyl actually said he felt unemployment benefits were a “disincentive” to out-of-work Americans to find new work. “I’m sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can’t argue it’s [unemployment insurance] a job enhancer,” Kyl stated on the Senate floor when debating the topic of a federal unemployment benefits extension to allow states, such as Arizona, to continue to pay out benefits.
Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) went on to express during that session that he also basically felt COBRA (extended health care benefits) is hindering the average unemployed American from finding work. Because those cushy government bennies are just too good to pass up for a living wage…right. Nevermind the fact that most unemployment insurance checks only barely cover the inflated COBRA payments Kyl bemoans, and maybe a monthly electric and water bill. Maybe. Can we say, “out of touch”?
So, this Fourth of July, while U.S. Senators enjoy their Independence Day break, a hundred thousand Arizonans and roughly one million Americans will be struggling to make ends meet. To scrape up the money for hot dogs and propane; to somehow swing that trip to Grandma’s or the beach. To pay the damn mortgage, and take care of their families. Struggling, while the Senate takes pause to enjoy the summer days. Emergency hearings and billions in bailout funds for AIG and GMC? Sure.
Delaying summer vacay for a 48-hour special session to vote on the 2010 Unemployment Extension bill and $250 a week for a few extra months to desperate, jobless Americans who have worked hard their entire lives? Well, actions speak louder than words, and the Senate is adjourned until July 12. This may be too long for many unemployed Americans to wait for much needed assistance. By then, CNN estimates up to two million more Americans will have lost their unemployment benefits.
Contact Jon Kyl or John McCain and let them know what you feel needs to happen regarding unemployment insurance in Arizona, and America as a whole. As much as our 100 State Senators represent their individual states, together they comprise the United States Senate, and it’s high time they represent all the people.