Schneider pushes for unemployment benefits vote
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider Wednesday will push for a House vote on extending unemployment insurance benefits.
The move would require signatures from a majority of members of Congress, so the Deerfield Democrat would need at least some Republican support in GOP-controlled Congress.
Local Democrats have been pushing for an extension of benefits past the standard 26 weeks after rules allowing for longer-term benefits expired at the end of December. But Republicans point to the country's deficit and say they don't want to add to it.
"If my colleagues want to vote against the extension, I respect their right to disagree; but failing to even allow a vote goes against the very progress that families and our constituents demand," Schneider said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, has pushed his own version of an extension in the Senate, which would allow for five more months and make reforms he says will pay for the added benefits.
Kirk voted last month against allowing a benefit extension to move forward.
"Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and it has been a priority of mine to find a financially responsible and commonsense way to extend unemployment benefits for those in need of them," Kirk said in a statement.
The issue could remain particularly relevant in Illinois as the unemployment rate here remains higher than the national average.