Senate Hoping to Solve Standoff over Benefits for Laid-off Steelworkers
Minnesota’s Senate is hoping to solve a standoff over extending unemployment benefits to Iron Range steelworkers.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill Thursday granting $258 million in business tax breaks from the state’s unemployment fund. That measure has been the primary sticking point in a weeks-long struggle to send unemployment checks to thousands of steelworkers.
The Republican-controlled House has insisted the benefit extensions be paired with the tax cut. Democrats in the Senate have maintained they should be separate.
Thursday’s maneuver aims to convince the house to pass both bills. It’s unclear whether the GOP house will follow suit.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk are urging the House to pass the bill. Dayton is pushing back his family vacation to stay in town until he receives the final legislation to sign.
“The need is urgent for a 26-week unemployment benefits extension for thousands of unemployed workers on Minnesota’s Iron Range. It has now been five months since benefits for some of them began to expire. This morning, I understand the Minnesota Senate will pass a clean Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund tax reduction. The Senate passed a clean unemployment benefits extension bill two weeks ago. I urge the House of Representatives to pass both of these bills today. I will sign both of them separately, as soon as they reach me,” said Dayton.