Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat, is accusing Republican Senator Chuch Grassley’s staff of distributing “misinformation” about potential federal benefits for Iowans who’ve been out of work for months. Meanwhile, a Grassley spokeswoman says state officials failed to sign up for a federal program last fall and, as a result, as many as 18,000 Iowans may miss out on extended unemployment benefits.
“It is not accurate to say that any Iowans are losing out on benefits because of what the state did or didn’t do,” Culver says. “The problem is Senator Grassley voted against extending unemployment benefits to 16,000 and they’re looking for some political cover, apparently, to try to justify that bad vote.”
Last week Grassley and other Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted against a bill which extended benefits to the long-term unemployed. “Because of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate — and despite Charles Grassley’s bad vote — those benefits will be extended to 16,000 additional Iowans and I’m glad,” Culver says.
While Iowa was barred from signing up for one new program because the state’s unemployment rate was under the threshhold for qualifying for that type of extended benefits, Grassley’s spokeswoman says the state could have signed up for another unemployment extension offered by the federal government.
Culver’s staff says the state didn’t sign up for that program in order to keep the state’s unemployment trust fund solvent and to avoid an increase in business taxes that are paid into that fund.