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Republican fillibuster hurts Americans, Minnesotans

Late Thursday evening Republicans in the U.S. Senate filibustered an extension of jobless benefits for millions of Americans still looking for work during this recession. Every single Republican in the U.S. Senate voted to throw up a roadblock, kill the bill, while offering no solutions of their own.

Minnesotans across the state are paying for the Republican stall tactics. Each week over 600 unemployed workers are losing their jobless benefits. These are hardworking Minnesotan who have been looking for work for over six months but haven't yet found a new job. Their task just got harder. Due to congressional Republicans, they now have to face their families and wonder where their next meal is going to come from.

The cynicism behind the Republican opposition is apparent and appalling. An extension of jobless benefits will help Minnesota and other states continue on our path toward a full economic recovery. But that's not what Republicans want. If the economy improves too rapidly, they are worried too many voters will show up to the polls in November. By suppressing our recovery, they hope frustrated voters will stay home.

This isn't a rural versus metro issue, and it shouldn't even be a Democrat versus Republican issue. We should do the right thing and help Minnesotans looking for a job stay on their feet so that we can together continue rebuilding our economy. -- Tim Mahoney, state representative, St. Paul and Tom Rukavina, state representative, Virginia

(Mahoney is the house chair, Bioscience and Workforce Development Policy and Oversight, and Rukavina is the house chair, Higher Education and Workforce Development.)