HARRISBURG (NEWSRADIO 1020 KDKA) –  A simmering dispute between Gov. Tom Wolf and state Senate Republicans could slow down processing of unemployment claims in Pennsylvania. It could also lead to more than 500 state workers being laid off.

It is also shaping up as the opening skirmish in the race for governor in 2018.

The spat has been bubbling ever since the state Senate last month ended its two-year session without voting on legislation to authorize funds for unemployment call centers. Gov. Wolf followed by announcing plans to close some of those call centers.

This past week, the finger pointing continued, with Republican Sen. Scott Wagner – a likely challenger to Wolf in 2018 – saying the governor is seeking to salvage his political career.

“And he’s using the livelihood of state employees as pawns to do so,” Sen. Wagner said.

Wolf, meanwhile, insists that the Senate needs to approve funding.

“The Senate Republicans need to get their act together and make sure that they do what they say they were going to do,” Gov. Wolf said.

But, the unemployment compensation system layoffs are scheduled later this month and the new legislative session does not begin until January.

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