Updated April 16 9:50 a.m. | The governors of the two states with the highest unemployment rates — including a Republican — are urging Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to take up the Senate’s unemployment extension bill .
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat, wrote to Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif., asking that the House take up the Senate-passed bill.
“As you know, long-term unemployment remains unacceptably high despite the fact that our economy has been recovering from the worst recession in generations. When our country has experienced similar rates of long-term unemployment in the past, Congress has consistently acted in a bipartisan fashion to extend emergency unemployment benefits,” the governors wrote.
They also said the states could implement the retroactive, short-term measure without problems, despite concerns from Republicans and state officials that implementation would be difficult because the benefits have already expired and the legislation imposes new limits on who can receive the benefits.
“Our states are more than capable of implementing this legislation, including the administration of retroactive benefits, which we have successfully done in the past,” the governors wrote. “These unemployment benefits are critical to the families in our states and we look forward to working with you.”
Sandoval is effectively backing a fellow Nevada Republican, Sen. Dean Heller, who co-authored the Senate deal with Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island.
Some House Republicans have urged their leaders to add jobs-related measures to an extension and send it back to the Senate. However, sources said the House is unlikely to act because there is little support in the GOP Conference for reviving an extension of long-term unemployment benefits.