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In The Senate, Republicans Block But The Democrats Just Run

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I hope the Democrats enjoyed their week off more than did the millions of jobless Americans who are losing their unemployment benefits.

Two weeks ago, congressional Democrats were berating Republicans, who have been blocking legislation that would extend those benefits.

Leading Democrats rightly described the lapse in benefits as an "emergency," given that out-of-work Americans are relying on their unemployment insurance to at least attempt to keep their heads above water while searching for a new job.

Democrats rightly called Republicans out for their hard-hearted obstruction. More than 3 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance by the end of July unless Congress approves a crucial extension.

But, then, whoops, the clock struck midnight and everyone in Congress — Democrat and Republican alike — just high-tailed it out out of town. So much for that unemployment "emergency."

Instead of folding and sending everyone home for the July 4 recess, Majority Leader Harry Reid could have kept the Senate in session, day and night, forcing Republicans to remain in Washington to defend their filibuster.

Reid had already forced Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe to cave and join Democrats in extending unemployment benefits. Had he kept the Senate at it through the holiday, he would have become a working-class hero working tirelessly to break Republicans further.

Instead, Reid scurried like the rest of the congressional mice and went back to Nevada to try out some of his latest focus-group-tested zingers against Tea Party opponent Sharron Angle.

I guess the only real unemployment they care about on Capitol Hill is their own.

While Reid and his colleagues were home last week, enjoying July 4th parades, local barbecues, and the hurly-burly of the campaign trail, the minds of the nation's jobless were elsewhere.

Let's just say they just weren't feeling quite as festive.

Take, for instance, a construction management professional in Kentucky, laid off in 2008, and identified only as "J.S."

He lost his or her unemployment benefits in June, and, well, given that his or her utilities will be shut off by July 15th, I think J.S. can be forgiven for skipping the fireworks this year.

 

'I Probably Won't Last Long Here'

M.I., a telecommunications/project management professional from Texas, also spent the July 4 holiday with a deepening sense of foreboding.

"I received my last check under Tier I extended benefits on June 16. I am fortunate in that I rent my house from mother, so I won’t be evicted immediately, but the electricity, phone, and water will probably all be shut off by the second week of July. I’m trying to be positive and think of it like camping, but no A/C in Dallas in July isn’t very fun, and I have asthma, so I probably won’t last long here."

Not too much to celebrate there.

And don't blame either one for their state. Both report applying to hundreds of jobs, with no avail. But 9.5 percent unemployment means there are an average of five folks in line for each opening, so there just aren't enough jobs to go around even for the most hard-working, talented workers out there.

These folks clearly have so little hope left. At least the Republicans are honest about not caring a bit for them. But after weeks of talk and promising to fight for them, it was the Democrats who took off and left them with even less hope.

Congress comes back to work on Monday. I'm sure J.S., M.I., and millions of others wish they could say the same thing.

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About Scott Nance

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You’re on target pointing out the hypocrisy of Democrats like Harry Reid. It’s why he’ll be going home permanently in a few months.

    But you’re off base in claiming that Republicans “don’t care” – that’s not why they employ endless extensions of unemployment benefits. Unlike Democrats, they realize that their states and businesses in their states cannot continue to pay these unfunded mandates in perpetuity. States are in trouble financially and so are businesses. Extending unemployment benefits is going to ultimately result in business failures and more unemployment, as well as higher state budget deficits.

    It’s not that Republicans don’t care, it’s that they are looking beyond the short term and see the devastating consequences of a government which is spending out of control. They understand that the money the government is spending is what is causing the high unemployment.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It’s not that Republicans don’t care, it’s that they are looking beyond the short term and see the devastating consequences of a government which is spending out of control. They understand that the money the government is spending is what is causing the high unemployment.

    Strange how Republicans only seem to be capable of these amazing feats of fiscal clairvoyance when it’s not their guy doing the spending.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    They don’t have to because their supporters are easy to manipulate.

  • jason

    dave nalle can u republicans stop with the bs already its the republicans fault that the extentions werent passes they make this bs about it not being payed for and all this bs but no1 mentions how the war bush started and the trillions of dollars he asked for right no problem there right republicans u got damn losers. democrats are not using stimulus money because its needed for when jobs do pick up and other things and hello what over picture do u see in 3 million homless people u damn fools if 3 million people have no money how is the economy gona pick u damn republicans are stupid

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jason, did the Republicans steal all your capital letters and punctuation too?

    Jobs won’t ever pick up if you kill the sector of the economy that produces jobs. That’s the Democrats’ fatal mistake.

    Dr. D. – it’s always easier to see the truth when you have less of a personal involvement.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Dave Nalle (#1), in the 2nd ¶ of your comment, you write that Republicans “employ endless extensions of unemployment benefits.” In the 2nd ¶ of this article, Scott Nance writes that Republicans have been blocking legislation that would extend those benefits. Can’t you guys at least get on the same page as to what Republicans are doing? It’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact.

  • Hemi

    Hey Dave, the money isn’t coming from the states, it’s coming from the Federal Govt. The Obama administration also wants to help states with their budget shortfalls to get through this recession. And like Jason said, how do you expect businesses to stay in business when millions of people are going to the poor-house?

  • Arch Conservative

    It’s the one two punch combo of the federal government, arrogance and apathy. Take your pick which party is which. They so frequently interchange.Eight years ago the Republicans began spending us into the ground. Now Barry and and the Dems are finishing the job.

  • http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com Scott Nance

    Dave,

    Jobless Americans do rely on unemployment benefits while they seek work, and more than that, those benefits also provide key stimulus during a recession.

    Despite the false Republican claims, extension of unemployment benefits, and the entire economic stimulus, are not the cause of the long-term deficit.

  • Baronius

    This is all a Democratic attempt to recreate welfare as we knew it. Unemployment benefits are going to become permanent. This is the first major crisis since the dismantling of welfare, and they’re using it to create a new system for the redistribution of wealth, which will inevitably do the same damage as the last one.

    People talk about how the Republicans are being disingenuous about spending, but what about the Democrats? Have you ever known them to expand a social program temporarily?

  • John Wilson

    “Jobs won’t ever pick up if you kill the sector of the economy that produces jobs.”

    That would be the consumer sector. So we should give money to the poor, starting with the unemployed.

    Jobs aren’t produced by businesses because businesses are just trend followers. They’ll only hire when consumers create markets. No businessman will hire when he doesn’t have more market to sell into.

    “…they realize that their states and businesses in their states cannot continue to pay these unfunded mandates in perpetuity.”

    It’s easy to fund unemployment, just earmark all income taxes for income support. Every dollar collected from income tax should go to unemployment compensation and job training.

    Any corporate welfare can come from corporate taxes.

    As for military adventures, let those who want to invade raise the funds to do it instead of stealing income tax money from working people.

  • IXLNXS

    Spot on article in recognizing the failures of either party to represent the wishes of the electorate. One party obstructs. The other gives up without a fight.

    And the majority of Americans are in favor of extending unemployment benefits. It is actually the number one issue just ahead of job creation most Americans want government working on. And both partys drag their feet.

    Take illegal immigration. Recent polls taken suggest the number of Americans in favor of Arizona’s law and wanting the government to do the same thing are very high. Yet our government and our leaders and the echo chamber are doing everything in their power to put a stop to any changes being made. Obstructing, litigating in a states affairs, once again seeking to do everything in their power to go against what Americans want them to do.

    And shame on every one of you who are still playing the partisan blame game of politics. BOTH partys are systematically dismantling everything we once prided in our country. BOTH PARTYS.

    Speak up and demand a referendum of all political leaders and appointees. Demand a referendum of the executive, judicial, and legislative bodies of our country. Demand accountability.

    Illegal immigration. Drives down the hourly wage of working Americans and takes jobs American workers “WILL” do. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Offshoring. Sends American jobs out of this country. Saves the companys that do it from paying taxes to our government. Allows them to sell Americans these same products without paying any tariff. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Insourcing. Allows companies to import foreign workers for a diverse number of jobs throughout the US. These are usually contract technical workers who are not saddled with college loans and can claim no overtime, health insuarance, or benefits. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Mechanization and automation. Allows for repretitive task to be mechanized with machines that draw no pay whatsoever. Cost upkeep and retrofitting. Versus cost per employee for the lifetime service warranty of the machine. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Ballooning housing market. Housing market driven by speculation and an ongoing marketing campaign that the price of houses would never go down people buy houses at inflated prices. Many paying for these inflated values for over a decade in both inflated interest rates but ever rising property taxes. Lenders hedge their bets. Combine poor risk loans into bundles. Start trading them among themselves. Bet that the system will fail while not informing their stockholders of their own predictions and hedge bets. Market crashes. Home owners take huge equity losses. Taxpayers bail out banks. Company wins. Americans lose.

    NAFTA. Company wins. Americans lose.

    CAFTA. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Iraq Afghanistan. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Vietnam. Company wins. Americans lose.

    TAP Project through Afghanistan. Company wins. Americans lose.

    BP Oil Spill. Company wins. Americans lose.

    The gift that keeps on giving Bush gave to the Pharmaceutical industry. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Obama’s Health Care overhaul. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Iran Contra. Company wins. Americans lose.

    Can it really get any plainer that our government does not represent you?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Spot on article in recognizing the failures of either party to represent the wishes of the electorate.”

    That may be so, but does the electorate really knows what it wishes? I take it to be a far more disturbing question.

  • Mark

    My comment is very clear about extended benefits for unemployed workers. Many of the people that have became unemployed have spent their entire career building the life they once lived. A sudden change in their employment status, for many people, resulted in the company they worked for down-sizing. There hasn’t been any incentives put in action to create jobs to employ the unemployed. Therefore, I think it is essential for unemployment to be extended. What are the 3 million Americans supposed to do without any income at all? The answer to that is…the homeless population will increase and so will the crime rate. I do not argue that at some point unemployment benefits should be stopped, but not without creating jobs for the unemployed workers. I do not put blame on either political party. What I do say is both parties need to consider the facts that are obvious. Stopping benefits and leaving 3 million people with no income will cause a spiral effect. The unemployment benefits these people receive allow them to purchase food and daily necessities for living. With no money to buy their needs…it will cause stores to loose money…an industry that relies on consumers. Businesses rely very heavily on consumer support…purchase or services provided…without that these businesses cannot hire or keep employees…or even stay in business. The bottom line I want to say is before cutting off unemployment benefits…create jobs!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Alan, I wrote “employ” when I meant to write “oppose” – does that help make it all clear?

    That would be the consumer sector. So we should give money to the poor, starting with the unemployed.

    Actually, John. If you really want to go with a consumer-side solution you don’t give money to the poor and unemployed because they will just spend it on necessities. If you actually want to create jobs you give it to those who already have money for necessities and who will therefore spend the extra money on new products and consumer goods, thereby creating far more job growth.

    Despite the false Republican claims, extension of unemployment benefits, and the entire economic stimulus, are not the cause of the long-term deficit.

    We all know what the real cause of the long term deficit is, but I really don’t see Democrats who want to extend unemployment indefinitely biting the bullet and cutting social security and medicaid.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    There hasn’t been any incentives put in action to create jobs to employ the unemployed. Therefore, I think it is essential for unemployment to be extended.

    It makes a lot more sense to me to take steps to encourage the creation of jobs as that’s a better and longer term solution to the problem, and extending unemployment benefits just does the opposite. What we need is massive cuts in corporate taxes and tax cuts for the investing class. Fat chance of any of that happening with Democrats in power.

    Dave

  • albert duell

    You should attack the Dems on the fact that it was the Dem Congress w/ Dodd & Frank that caused the “melt-down” not Bush. Prsidents don’t have the “Power of the purse” Congress does. Should use this truthful attack each And everytime the liberal press attacks.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Dr. D. – it’s always easier to see the truth when you have less of a personal involvement.

    Then perhaps, Dave, the Republicans need to be in permanent opposition, since they’re so susceptible to losing the plot when it’s their guy in charge.

  • Baronius

    Or at least not putting Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay in charge.

  • John Wilson

    Dave Nalle is wrong (again?): “…but I really don’t see Democrats who want to extend unemployment indefinitely biting the bullet and cutting social security and medicaid.”

    SS has been consistently contributing a surplus to the budget for 25 years.

  • John Smith

    While People Criticize President Obama. It seems very clear that Re Puke Lickan’s have never created any jobs in the first place. If it was up to the Republicans All Americans would be homeless and unemployed.

    I don’t expect much in the way of compromise from Republicans. Remember the Contract with America that was some piece of work.

  • cj

    Please somebody stop making up this shit…