BOISE -- That means that jobless workers in Idaho who could previously receive benefits for up to 99 weeks can receive the federally funded assistance for a maximum of 106 weeks.

But as states take up legislation to accept that federal money, some Republican lawmakers are pouncing on the opportunity to denounce runaway government spending.

Republicans in the Missouri Senate are blocking legislation that would let the state receive federal money to extend unemployment benefits for some people. The state legislation must be approved this week for Missouri to receive $81 million for extended benefits to people out of work for more than 79 weeks.

In Idaho, more than two dozen Republican lawmakers tried to defeat legislation that would allow the federal money to flow into state coffers.

Who's paying for this? said Rep. Steve Thayn, R-Emmett.

We're saying the federal governor paying for it, but in reality, our grandchildren are paying for these unemployment benefits. It really isn't wise policy in my opinion, to be borrowing from our grandchildren and great children that might not even be born yet.

Rep. Marv Hagedorn was also among GOP lawmakers who tried to defeat legislation to extend benefits to long-term unemployed workers who haven't secured a job.

It's time to lead the horse away from the trough and make him go to work, said Hagedorn, of Meridian.

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, countered that while Idaho lawmakers would like to send a message to the federal government about deficit spending, they shouldn't do it on the backs of unemployed families.

It's not our decision whether extended unemployed benefits exist, they exist. Congress has decided that. Our decision is whether we accept it for our families and our workers, Rusche said. I think it would be somewhat silly to require that the taxpayers in the state pay federal taxes, but refuse accept benefits for those workers.

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