Six Republicans joined 54 Democratic U.S. senators Tuesday in clearing the way for a vote to extend federal unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans. The 60-37 procedural vote allows final consideration of the extension.
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who has sparred with North Carolina Republican leaders over the issues this week, voted yes.
Sen. Richard Burr voted no. So would at least three of the five GOP hopefuls who hope to take on Hagan.
Jordan Shaw, a spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis, said only that the candidate would have voted against Tuesday's measure.
Mark Harris, a Charlotte pastor, issued a statement: "This is the latest example of the Washington DC establishment supporting policy that is forcing our Nation to pay bills on a credit card that is already maxed out," he said. "This extension of unemployment benefits unfortunately is not paid for and does not include anything to help put people back to work."
Bill Flynn, a Forsyth County broadcaster, said there's a better way to help the jobless.
"We need look no further than to the State of North Carolina to see how to effectively lower unemployment rates in the long term," he said. "Extending unemployment benefits and increasing the already burdensome deficits is not the answer. Compassion means rapidly building a better environment for jobs to grow. Specifically, lower taxes and less regulation ... "
Greg Brannon and Heather Grant could not be reached.
House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans say they want Congress to come up with spending cuts to offset the $6.5 billion cost of extending benefits.