Kansas Sen.-elect Jerry Moran said Monday that he would vote to extend the Bush tax cuts permanently, including those for the wealthiest Americans.
But Moran, currently a Republican member of the House, said that he would probably not back extending unemployment insurance for people whose benefits are due to run out. Congress extended the deadline once already this year.
Unemployment now stands at 9.6 percent. It's 6.6 percent in Kansas.
What to do about the tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year, has dominated talks about whether Congress and President Obama will get anything done in the final weeks, following the public's sharp rebuke of the Democrats in the midterm elections.
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Moran said that an agreement could emerge to only temporarily extend the upper-end tax cuts, which the White House opposes.
But there's been little discussion of the impending deadline on applications for emergency jobless benefits. It runs out Nov. 30. Without congressional action, nearly 1 million unemployed people will lose aid within days, according to unemployment benefits activists.
If Congress does nothing, 1,830 out-of-work Kansans won't be able to apply for emergency benefits as of the first week of December, according to state Department of Labor spokesman Jonathan Larance. That number would increase each week.
Larance said they would be sent applications for state emergency benefits.
Moran said that while he would "look at the issue," he has opposed extending unemployment benefits in the past.
"Tax cuts benefit all Americans and it is more beneficial to putting people to work than extending unemployment," Moran said in a call with reporters. "We have options for retraining. There continues to be employment opportunities for Americans that need to be pursued."
He said making the tax cuts permanent for the wealthy increases the likelihood of economic investment, which could create jobs.
Moran also said that he hopes Congress approves the Colombian Free Trade Agreement before the end of the year because he said it would benefit Kansas agriculture.
He also spoke about the transition to the Senate after 14 years in the House. Moran listed several committees on which he hopes to serve: Armed Services, Commerce and Veterans Affairs.