Myrick slammed on benefits vote

With an unemployment office as a backdrop, Democrat Harry Taylor Thursday ripped Republican U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick for voting this month against extending jobless benefits by three months.

“Either she doesn't know what's going on or she doesn't care,” Taylor said at news conference at a south Charlotte unemployment office.

Myrick was among 137 members, all Republican, who voted against the Democratic-sponsored bill.

Spokesman Andy Polk said Myrick voted against the measure because it would have granted extended benefits to people who worked for as little as two weeks. President Bush has threatened a veto.

Myrick supported another measure this month making extended benefits available to those who worked a minimum of 20 weeks.

“The bill Sue voted against is going to die in the Senate for the same reasons Sue voted against it,” Polk said. “The bill she voted for will pass the Senate and be signed into law by the president. The result will be unemployed people getting the benefits they need.”

Among the 49 GOP members who voted for the measure that Myrick opposed were three other N.C. Republicans.

Reps. Robin Hayes, Patrick McHenry and Walter Jones voted for the Democratic measure. Rural North Carolina has been hit hard by the economic downturn and vanishing manufacturing. Hayes had just been included among 10 Republicans whose races were rated as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report.

North Carolina's unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in May. Mecklenburg County had a 5 percent jobless rate in April, the last month for which figures are available.

Taylor said extending benefits would stimulate the economy.

“One, it's the right thing to do,” he said. “It just makes common sense.”