JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson visits the Clara White Mission in Jacksonville every year during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thursday morning, Nelson helped serve breakfast to some of the area's homeless.
He took the opportunity to talk about government programs that are helping those less fortunate in our society, including the Affordable Care Act, unemployment insurance and the budget.
Tuesday was the deadline for uninsured people to sign up for health coverage to begin on January 1. That deadline had been pushed back a number of times, because of problems with the rollout of the insurance marketplace website.
Nelson says he thinks the health care system will improve.
"Well you know they had a lot of problems with the website. No excuses for that, but it's being corrected," Nelson said.
The Democratic senator is concerned about emergency unemployment benefits wet to expire on Saturday, leaving many jobless worried about how they will make ends meet.
"You can imagine people that are down on their luck. The economy, at the same time, is improving," Nelson said. "They just need a little more unemployment assistance to get them over the hump."
Nelson also spoke out about the budget passed earlier this month by both houses of Congress -- the first bipartisan budget produced by a divided Congress in 27 years.
"You can't stand in your own little ideological box and say, "It's going to be my way or no way,' which is why I've been so frustrated. It's hard to build consensus when people won't negotiate."
Many military members are hoping they don't have to feel the pinch in their pockets because of the budget.
"The huge cut that was going against the U.S. military was saved," Nelson said. "Now we got to go in and flush out the budget for the coming year."
Veterans groups are asking President Barack Obama to veto the budget bill that is awaiting his signature, saying that the cuts to military retirement benefits -- which even the bill's authors' now admit were a partial mistake -- are an insult to former troops.
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