Bill Halter is right. It's an outrage that the Senate has adjourned without extending unemployment benefits.
I think he's wrong to blame it on Sen. Blanche Lincoln. The blame goes to Senate rules and abuse of same and American workers by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and then refusal by the Democrat-controlled House to go along with a short-term compromise.
Halter says he wouldn't have left town until he problem was fixed. Perhaps not. But he'd have played hell getting anything done in an empty Senate chamber. Lamentable though the whole thing is.
HALTER NEWS RELEASE
North Little Rock – The Senate adjourned Friday without extending the unemployment benefits that help many unemployed workers pay the bills while they look for jobs. This means that on April 5th, thousands of Arkansans will lose access to the badly needed safety net that unemployment benefits provide. In addition to supplying a lifeline to Arkansans who are looking for work, studies have shown that unemployment benefits are one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus.
Said Halter, “This is another sign that Washington just doesn’t get it. We can’t have politicians putting their vacations ahead of doing right by our families. Those are Washington values, not Arkansas values.”
Added Halter, “If I were the Senator from Arkansas right now there is no way I would be leaving town without making sure we had taken care of these struggling Arkansas families. Many of these folks could be facing a housing payment or having to choose between food and medicine for their children. It is really outrageous and I call on the Senate to get back to the work of taking care of Arkansas workers, and getting our economy going again.
“Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of indifference from Senator Lincoln before, just earlier this month Senator Lincoln voted with Senator Bunning and Senate Republicans three times to delay the extension of these same benefits. Arkansas needs a Senator who will vocally fight for working families,” said campaign manager Carol Butler.
Halter added, “I am very committed to balancing the budget, we did just that when I served in the Clinton administration. But, we should make those difficult budget decisions in more responsible ways. We should never try to balance the budget on the backs of middle class families.”