WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today strongly criticized tactics that have delayed a vote on passing emergency legislation to extend unemployment insurance (UI) and COBRA health care benefits that are scheduled to expire this Sunday. One Republican senator has blocked a vote on the emergency legislation, despite the Democratic leadership’s willingness to allow him to offer amendments.
“This is not a game for millions of Americans who depend on their UI benefits and receive their health care through COBRA in these difficult economic times,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “Failure to pass this emergency legislation means that more than 90,000 Marylanders will lose their UI benefits – at least temporarily. This is money that helps feed families, pays health care bills, and helps keep Maryland families in their homes. Blocking the extension is not the right course of action and I call for an end to delaying tactics that are harming millions of Americans who are already suffering through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
“This emergency legislation also contains an extension of the current Medicare payment for physicians, which is scheduled to be reduced by 21 percent. It also extends Medicare therapy cap exceptions, which millions of Medicare beneficiaries rely on to get the outpatient therapy services they need. Failure to pass this emergency extension could jeopardize medical treatment for millions of patients.”