WASHINGTON HJB — WASHINGTON -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer broke from his fellow Democratic governors urging President Bush to sign a measure extending benefits to the unemployed because he prefers that Congress and the president find a solution not adding to the federal deficit, a spokesman for the governor said yesterday.
Mr. Schaefer's 27 Democratic colleagues wrote the president and urged him to sign a bill that would declare an economic emergency and offer up to 20 extra weeks of unemployment benefits to some 3 million Americans who have exhausted their regular 26 weeks of benefits.
The House on Tuesday by a 283-125 vote sent to the Senate a $6.4 billion measure that would provide the extended benefits. The entire Maryland House delegation voted in favor of the bill, which is expected to be taken up by the Senate as early as today. The legislation is similar to a bill passed by Congress last month that would extend benefits after the president declared an economic emergency. But the president failed to declare an emergency, saying he didn't want to add to the deficit.