Partisanship Derails Ohio Senator’s Effort To Extend Unemployment Benefits

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Republican Sen. Rob Portman's plan to pay for a three month extension of unemployment benefits has been blocked by the senate Democratic leadership.

Portman had proposed eliminating "double dipping," where people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance would be prevented from claiming unemployment benefits.

"If you get Social Security Disability Assistance, that means you're not working by definition," said Portman.  "So, you shouldn't also get unemployment insurance which means you're looking for a job."

Portman says his plan would save over $5.4 billion over ten years.

"We need to do something to pay for this," Portman told 10TV.  "Let's not go further into debt which hurts the economy."

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown says he is skeptical whether Portman's proposal is necessary for a short term extension.

"We need to do this quickly, as it has done in the past and put these kinds of negotiations and fits and starts behind us," said Brown.

Brown has put forward his own proposal to cut corporate tax breaks to fund unemployment benefits.

"If a company closes down in Newark and moves to China they get a tax break," said Brown.  "We should take that away, that's the way to pay for unemployment insurance."

Officials estimate that around 40,000 Ohioans have lost benefits since the first of the year.

Portman and Brown do agree that they hope there will be a resolution by the end of next week.