Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 | 12:23 p.m.
Acknowledging he’ll be labeled as “insensitive,” U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said this week he is inclined to let long-term unemployment benefits expire, a move that could kick more than 45,000 jobless Nevadans off of their unemployment checks.
When Congress resumes session after the Thanksgiving holiday it will take up the question of whether to extend funding for long-term unemployment benefits. Amodei said he could vote ‘no’ on the measure.
“I’m going to look real critical at it,” he said this week during a taping for To the Point. “I’m inclined, depending on what’s in the bill, to say at some point in time you have to say, 'I’m sorry you can’t just keep extending it.' And this could very well be it.”
Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 13.4 percent. More than 45,000 jobless Nevadans are on federal unemployment benefit extensions. Those benefits will end if Congress doesn’t extend the program.
But Amodei said he’s concerned that the continuing unemployment check—Nevadans are eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment checks—is preferable to being employed.
“I am concerned when I talk to employers in the community who say they are offering jobs but the deal on unemployment is better,” Amodei said. “I’m not saying that sweepingly applies to everyone, but when you talk about being on government benefits is a better deal than being in the workforce, I think you have to examine that.”
Amodei said he realizes he’ll be labeled as uncaring for that position.
“I know the clichés will come out (that) you’re insensitive” he said. “But you know what, you have to move beyond spending money.”
The full interview with Amodei will air Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 3.