After a year in which Republicans have stripped union rights, pulled funding for Planned Parenthood and made it hard to vote, Wisconsin State Representative Tamara Grigsby says she has run out of ways to call something shameful. Now Wisconsin lawmakers at an impasse on extending unemployment benefits by 13 weeks, because the Republican-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled Assembly can’t agree on a one-week waiting period before any benefits kick in.
Representative Grigsby addressed her silent Republican colleagues on the Assembly floor yesterday:
And now we are here tonight having a conversation about playing a partisan game. We want to introduce an amendment that will say because of partisan politics, we want to delay the possibility of thousands and thousands of people in the state of Wisconsin having access to extended unemployment insurance.
Not only is that shameful, not only is that spineless, not only is that repugnant, but it’s immoral. And it’s not nice.
The extended benefits would come from the federal government. Workers pay into the unemployment insurance system when they’re working, and then draw on the benefits if they get laid off. The Wisconsin Senate got rid of the one-week waiting period. The Assembly says it can save $56 million by keeping it. Unless the two chambers agree, the measure will die. Unemployment in Wisconsin rose last month, from 7.4 percent to 7.6 percent.