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NC leaders jockey in jobless benefits showdown

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By EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue are weighing who'll get the blame if unemployment benefits for about 37,000 long-term jobless workers are cut off.

The federally funded benefits will stop Saturday without Perdue's approval. But the legislation also forces the governor to accept a 13 percent cut from the spending plan she proposed as a starting point for negotiations over next year's budget.

A veto isn't necessarily the end of the benefit checks. Payments could be restored later if legislators relent.

But Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis of Mecklenburg County said Friday there's no guarantee the money would be restored. He says the people who lose benefits will be calling Perdue, not legislators.

A Perdue spokeswoman did not return calls Friday seeking comment.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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