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Democratic Candidates Sign Petition

Anita Kumar

Almost 5,000 Virginians, including all three Democrats running for governor, signed a petition calling for GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell and House Republicans to support an effort to collect $125 million in federal stimulus money for jobless Virginians.

The Democratic Party of Virginia launched the petition Monday. Twenty-four hours later, 4,817 Virginians had signed the petition calling for the General Assembly to return to Richmond and vote to accept the money.

"Bob McDonnell's opposition to urgent assistance for displaced workers is heartless,'' state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds said. "Bob McDonnell and Virginia Republicans are turning their backs on the Virginians who are hurting the most. It's time to put politics aside and get this done."

The General Assembly narrowly rejected the money last week despite pressure from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

"Bob McDonnell's opposition to accepting $125 million to extend unemployment benefits is a slap in the face to the thousands of Virginia families struggling under the current economic crisis,'' said Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The Republican-controlled House of Delegates, a fiscally conservative body that has long opposed fundamental changes to laws that extend such benefits, killed the proposal after members argued it would translate into higher taxes for businesses once the supply of stimulus money was exhausted.

"It's unconscionable that the House of Delegates would continue obstructing relief,'' said former delegate Brian Moran said. "I've joined Virginians from across the commonwealth in adding my support for calling on them to return to Richmond and fix this mistake. People need a government that fights for them, not against them."

Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman, said McDonnell is lobbying members of Congress to remove the requirement that forces states to change their unemployment programs to receive the funding.

"Too many want to use an important issue for political posturing,'' Martin said. "In our system of federalism Congress should not be micromanaging private business and state governments with these kinds of policies. Bob calls on all leaders to stop the politics, and focus on the people of Virginia. It is possible to get this short term help."

By Anita Kumar  |  April 14, 2009; 5:46 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Kumar, your article is disingenuous by NOT accurately layout why the measure was defeated by the House of Delegates.

It was defeated because it would extend unemployment to Part Time workers. Everyone cares for the Unemployed today because we all know someone who is.

But when you change the benefits rule to cover Part Time you might as well cover everyone over the age of 16 who isn't working in America! Anyone who has ever had a Part Tim Job knows there is no security in a PT job and you don't expect compensation when you lose that job.

Posted by: letsfroggy1 | April 15, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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