The first attempt in the Senate to extend emergency unemployment benefits failed, but an Illinois congressman is calling on lawmakers to try again. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) braved the cold in Chicago at a news conference with union members outdoors on Federal Plaza to ask for Congress to restart negotiations on extending those benefits when it reconvenes next week. Schakowsky believes Republican legislators have the wrong idea about the long-term unemployed.
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“I think there are a number of myths,” Schakowsky said, “one being that somehow people would rather collect that check and stay home, I guess, and eat bonbons and watch daytime television. Nothing could be further from the truth.” The federal aid, which kicks in only after the 26 weeks of state benefits have been exhausted, expired in December. Republicans in both the House and Senate have proposed making budget cuts elsewhere to offset the cost of extending the benefits.