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."