Murkowski votes to move toward benefits debate

JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted with the majority to proceed to debate on a renewal of benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Murkowski was one of six Republicans who voted with Democrats on Tuesday to clear an initial Senate hurdle for the proposed renewal of jobless benefits. Sen. Mark Begich did not vote. A spokeswoman said the Democrat was on his way back to Washington.

Murkowski, in a statement, said it is important to have compassion for those caught up what she called the Obama administration’s “economic policy failures.” But she says these kinds of benefit extensions cannot be unlimited.

Instead, she says steps must be made toward greater job creation and restructuring existing programs while also seeking ways to not add to this U.S. deficit.

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