Morning Must Reads: Hard Times, Unemployment Insurance and Marcellus Arm Twisting

Although the economy is recovering, it is important to remember that unemployment remains high and that means many households are struggling to make ends meet. WITF this morning reports on non-food aid from a Central Pennsylvania charity.

NPR's Morning Edition had a very good story on the national controversy surrounding food assistance. 

Meanwhile, the Allentown Morning Call reports that a bill required to enable 17,000 Pennsylvania workers to qualify for federally-funded unemployment insurance has cleared an important hurdle.

The state House has advanced Legislation that would restart the flow of extended unemployment benefits for 17,000 jobless Pennsylvanians. A final vote, which would send it to Gov. Tom Corbett's desk, is expected Wednesday ...

... the bill was quickly moved to third, and final consideration, with Speaker Sam Smith's announcement that all amendments to the bill had been pulled. ...

Some House Republicans, with the backing of business leaders, had sought to tie approval of the bill to shoring up the long-term solvency of a system that owes $3 billion to Washington — courtesy of historic levels of unemployment.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on hard ball politics aimed at boosting support for a weak Marcellus Shale drilling fee.

Democrats are calling it hardball. Republicans say it was a fair negotiation.

The dispute centers on the state GOP-controlled Senate's 31-19 approval Tuesday morning of a long-debated "local impact fee" on extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. The House is scheduled to vote on the same 174-page bill Wednesday and send it to Gov. Corbett if it passes.

Vincent Hughes, ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that the night before the morning vote, he and other Democrats were warned that if they didn't deliver some support for it, Philadelphia would get cut out of sharing in the fee's proceeds.

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