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Unemployment Benefits Extension

Boehner: 'Strong Concerns' About Senate Jobless Benefits Deal

House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that he has "strong concerns" about a Senate proposal to extend unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless, citing the objections of a group of state unemployment program administrators and calling the plan "simply unworkable."

"We have always said that we’re willing to look at extending emergency unemployment benefits again, if Washington Democrats can come up with a plan that is fiscally-responsible, and gets to the root of the problem by helping to create more private-sector jobs," he said in a statement. "There is no evidence that the bill being rammed through the Senate by Leader Reid meets that test, and according to these state directors, the bill is also simply unworkable."

Boehner cited a letter from the National Association of Workforce Agencies that warned of "considerable delays in the implementation of the program and increased administrative issues and costs" if Congress approves the legislation.

The Senate has yet to take up the new compromise legislation on the jobless benefits, which expired at the end of last year. A bipartisan group of senators unveiled the deal –- which would extend the benefits for five months and allow retroactive payments to eligible recipients -- before the Senate left for a week-long recess.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said before the break that the Senate would hold votes on the proposal after the St. Patrick’s Day work period.