Just as I responded to his Aug. 6 letter in the Asheville Citizen-Times, Mr. Edwards demonstrates in his Aug. 10 letter [“Blaming the Unemployed for Unemployment,” Aug.11, Xpress] that he does not have all the facts about my approach for tackling unemployment. In my response to the Citizen-Times, I suggested the writer is uninformed and corrected the record. I again have an opportunity to let the writer, and your readers, know about my support for extending unemployment benefits.
I have voted numerous times for legislation that would extend unemployment benefits and pay for it by making cuts elsewhere in government. I agree with President Obama, who stated last November that providing for the unemployed is a priority, but we must do it in a way that does not add to the national debt. Those in the majority party in Congress, however, have been unable to identify any government program anywhere in the federal budget that is less important than extending unemployment benefits.
I appreciate Mr. Edwards’ engagement on this issue and, like him, I empathize with North Carolinians in need of jobs. It is indeed unfortunate that one political party has used the unemployed as a political tool — it just isn’t the political party Mr. Edwards thinks it is.
— U.S. Sen. Richard Burr