Last month, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) criticized “excess spending” in the federal recovery package, saying he (like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal) would reject $50 million in unemployment benefits for part-time workers. But yesterday, the state legislature passed a bill circumventing Barbour:
House Concurrent Resolution 64 certifies the state’s intent to request and use all of the money, even if Barbour rejects some of it. It cleared the full House after a three-hour partisan debate, with Democrats advocating the bill’s passage and Republicans arguing against it. The bill cleared the House with 69 lawmakers voting for it, and 52 voting against it. Senate Democrats have introduced a similar resolution that urges Barbour to accept all of the money.
Barbour is now pressing the state Senate to reject the House legislation. Curiously, he claimed that extending unemployment benefits “would mean fewer jobs for our working people.”