When a moderator for a recent Georgia Republican primary debate asked candidates by a show of hands whether they would vote to extend benefits for the thousands of American workers who have been stuck with long-term unemployment, the question was met with an awkward pause.
At the Mayor’s Day Senate Forum in Atlanta earlier in the week, none of the six candidates raised their hands in favor of extending benefits, but when the opposite question was asked — who would vote against such a proposal — all six candidates raised their hands. Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) arm shot up the fastest.
The candidates’ reaction could indicate that the extension of unemployment benefits could become an issue in Republican primaries.
There are 66,729 people on extended unemployment benefits in the state of Georgia, about 1.4 percent of the state’s nearly 5 million-person workforce. The state’s unemployment rate is 7.4 percent according to the Associated Press, hovering a bit above the national average.
The Senate is reportedly making movement on extending unemployment benefits. Politico reported on wednesday that bipartisan talks on extending unemployment benefits seem to be moving forward. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he plans to have a vote on extending benefits next week.
Watch the video of the candidates below: