RALEIGH — It was about 10 days ago now when Governor Bev Perdue vetoed the only legislatively approved bill to extend some unemployment benefits for North Carolinians. Couple of things to remember about this bill- it only used federal dollars to pay the benefits, the state ESC did not inform lawmakers of the need for this until the 11th hour, AND Republicans attached a clause to the bill dealing with the next state spending plan in an effort to get the Governor not to veto their proposal.

The Governor called that last move extortion and wouldn’t sign the bill- which meant 37 thousand North Carolinians lost their benefits. Ten days later no one is ready to blink. Senator Phil Berger, the President Pro-tem, said there is NO intention by the Republicans to introduce or consider any other bill on this issue. And Governor Bev Perdue said she believes it is time for lawmakers to do their job and figure out how to extend the benefits.

Now cue the legislative democrats. They are basically sitting on the sidelines to see how this all plays out. But, not anymore. On Wednesday, the joint democratic caucus is hosting an informal hearing on the issue. Expect to see some of those unemployed North Carolinians paraded out- and plenty of advocates to speak on behalf of them.

Will this do anything to change anyone’s mind? Probably not. The Republicans don’t look like they are ready to budge… and Perdue still believes the original proposal amounts to extortion.