Dem senators decry GOP 'slow-walking' on unemployment bill

Republicans have sought to slow down an extension of unemployment benefits for political purposes, a group of Democratic senators charged Monday.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) blasted their GOP colleagues for trying to attach amendments on pet issues to a bill to extend unemployment benefits.

"I am disappointed to be starting another week here in the Senate without passing an extension of unemployment benefits," Shaheen said during a conference call with reporters. "If the American public understood what's holding up this bill, they would be outraged — and rightly so."

The senators expressed anger that amendments on issues such as making E-Verify permanent or on depriving funds to the community organizing group ACORN had held up a vote on the package, which is expected to make its way to the Senate floor this week.

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"This goes to a broader question, which is the continual objection and slow-walking of critical legislation through the Senate," Stabenow said. "This has been a tactic to stop the Senate from getting the people's business done."

Shaheen, a key sponsor of the legislation, said that she is hopeful the extension will receive a "clean" vote with no amendments, though she was less dismissive of some more directly related add-ons to the package.

Stabenow, meanwhile, predicted the bill would pass when it's brought up for a vote this week.

"The good news is that we'll move to this, and I believe there are the votes to pass it this week," she said. "It's up this week, we need to get it done, we need to get it to the president as quickly as possible."