Okla. groups want jobless benefits bill passed
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma labor group representatives want the state's two U.S. senators to end their opposition to a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.
Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn joined other Republicans last week in opposing an extension of unemployment benefits as part of a larger tax and spending package, citing concerns about adding to the budget deficit.
Senate Democrats now want to combine in one bill the unemployment benefits with an extension of a popular tax credit for people who buy new homes.
Tim O'Connor, the president of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, said Wednesday Coburn is "holding unemployed workers hostage" with his vote.
Coburn's spokesman, John Hart, says Coburn supports extending the benefits as long as they're paid for but that the senator's efforts to pay for the bill have been blocked.