Efforts in the Senate to extend the unemployment benefits were trapped in a procedural wrangle and never allowed on the floor for consideration. It fell to Sen. Scott Brown (R) of Massachusetts to object on behalf of the Republican Party to one proposed measure that required unanimous consent to move to the floor.Democrats should realize this is a trick - Republicans are the reason why these unemployment benefits have lapsed in the first place so why would they be willing to consider it once they get what they want, while simultaneously refusing to compromise on anything?
“We are in the midst of a historic economic crisis. I realize that,” he said. But to avoid ”burdening future generations,” the $56.4 billion measure must be offset with cuts elsewhere, he said. Senator Brown proposed tapping unspent federal dollars in other programs, such as the 2009 Obama stimulus plan.
Senator Reed objected, noting that the Republican plan to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts gives the wealthiest Americans a $700 billion tax cut that is also not offset – and, unlike the employment benefit, would not expire.
Senate Republicans stepped up the pressure on tax cuts this week by signing a letter pledging to block all legislation on the floor until Congress resolves how to fund government for the current fiscal year and extend the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, now set to expire on Dec. 31. Senate Democrats want leverage to move legislation critical to their base on issues ranging from immigration and unionizing police and firefighters to compensation for people wounded in the 9/11 attacks.
It is also interesting that the Republican's number one complaint about the unemployment extension is how to fund the benefits, yet when asked about how they plan on paying for the renewal of the Bush tax cuts, they feel their own rules don't apply to them.
I thought Annie Lowrey made an excellent point in her Slate article:
Actually, most economists—make that all economists—disagree with [Rep. John Shadegg]. Give an unemployed person a dollar, and she tends to spend it, because she needs to. (By definition, she has no other source of income.) Give a rich person a dollar via a tax break, she tends to save it. (By definition, she has a lot of other assets.) Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, has found that $1 in unemployment benefits generates $1.61 in economic activity. (That's the second most-stimulative form of government spending, behind food stamps.) A dollar in tax cuts—not just to the rich, but to everyone—generates about 32 cents.