The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 24, 2010

Marino splits with Carney over benefits

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

SUNBURY — Unlike the vote of the Democratic incumbent he will face in November, a Republican congressional candidate said Friday he would have opposed legislation that extended unemployment benefits for four months.

"I would have voted no on this issue because we just continue to spend ridiculous amounts of money that we don't have," said Tom Marino, of Cogan Station, Lycoming County. Marino will face U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, who voted for the measure, in the race for the 10th Congressional District seat on Nov. 2.

"Unless we could pay for this and take money from places we should be taking it from, then no, we shouldn't do this," Marino said.

President Obama on Thursday signed into law a restoration of benefits for people — including 370,000 Pennsylvanians — who have been out of work for six months or more. The House approved the measure earlier Thursday and the Senate, on Wednesday night.

Earlier in the week, Carney said he was pleased that the Senate acted on extending the benefits.

"Families in our region have struggled under the weight of this economy at no fault of their own and this assistance is vital to stabilizing their lives and our communities," Carney said.

To end the benefits all at once is "simply bad economic policy," he said.

"I know people on both ends of this, a person who doesn't want to go get work because they are being paid to stay home, and also people who are out looking for a job because they need to pay the mortgage," Marino said.

"We should look at this more closely and come up with a different solution and I am disappointed that they didn't come up with an alternative.

Marino said his idea is to supplement unemployment by paying the difference in salaries so that people can get back to work.

"We should help the hard-working, blue collar people that are struggling," he said. "But to not look at this problem more closely is just another way of our government spending money in the wrong way."

The move ended an interruption that cut off payments averaging about $300 a week to 2½ million people who have been unable to find work in the aftermath of the nation's long recession.

"Again, I am all for helping the struggling person who is trying to make a living. I mean, we bailed out the bank right?" Marino said.

"Something has got to change in the government and it needs to change fast."

n E-mail comments to fscarcella@dailyitem.com.