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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) today commented on the Senate passage of a bill to extend vital provisions that expired on Sunday, including unemployment benefits for out-of-work families across the country.

Sen. Hagan said:

"Last week, Democrats and Republicans came together to pass a bill that would help small businesses create jobs and put unemployed Americans to work. Job creation is my No. 1 priority, and the bill last week was the first step of the process.

"Last night, the Senate passed a bill with a bipartisan vote of 78 to 19 to extend several vital provisions that expired on Sunday - including unemployment benefits, COBRA subsidies, doctor reimbursements, and highway funding.

"Unfortunately, this bill was held up for days because of the objection of one Senator, Jim Bunning of Kentucky. Without this bill, hundreds of the nearly 500,000 out-of-work North Carolinians were in danger of losing their unemployment benefits. Workers who lost jobs would not have been eligible for help with their health care costs this month, and many more families would have been forced to join the growing ranks of the uninsured.

"In North Carolina, more than 85,000 medical employees, 1.2 million Medicare patients, and nearly 500,000 TRICARE patients needed the fix to the Medicare reimbursement rates for physicians we passed last night.

"And work was coming to a dead stop at three Western North Carolina highway construction sites. This halt in construction could have forced layoffs for North Carolinians still reeling from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

"We need to stop playing politics with the lives of North Carolinians, and get back to work on creating jobs. I am working with my colleagues to do just that."


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