Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 6, 2009

WHAT IT TAKES TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.... The good news is, President Obama will sign a measure today to extend unemployment benefits for at least 14 weeks for people out of work. It's money well spent -- it helps struggling people, and the investment tends to be stimulative -- and with new, discouraging job numbers, the timing is right.

"Given the employment situation and the general bang for the buck you get from unemployment insurance, that's probably the most sensible of the stimulative policies to extend," Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said.

The bad news is, it took far too long to get the common-sense bill through Congress. The measure stalled in the Senate for weeks, and while GOP lawmakers dithered, about 200,000 people who are looking for work lost their benefits.

We talked a couple of weeks ago about why Republicans were forcing delays, and Kevin Drum summarized what transpired on the Senate floor yesterday.

...Democrats only had to break three separate filibusters in the Senate to get this passed! The first filibuster was broken by a vote of 87-13, the second by a vote of 85-2, and the third by a vote of 97-1. The fourth and final vote, the one to actually pass the bill, was 98-0. Elapsed time: five weeks for a bill that everyone ended up voting for.

Why? Because even though Republicans were allowed to tack on a tax cut to the bill as the price of getting it passed, they decided to filibuster anyway unless they were also allowed to include an anti-ACORN amendment. Seriously. A bit of ACORN blustering to satisfy the Palin-Beck crowd is the reason they held up a bill designed to help people who are out of work in the deepest recession since World War II.... That's called taking governing seriously, my friends.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wondered yesterday why any lawmaker would deliberately hold up unemployment benefits during a recession. "Who are they representing?" she wondered.

I wonder the same thing all the time.

Steve Benen 9:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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The Dems should have someone making this point EVERY DAY from now until the midterms.

Posted by: howie on November 6, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Since the government can't solve the problem, it's time the people faced unemployment with our own ingenuity:



Posted by: bondwooley on November 6, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Who are they representing? We know that already -- those Americans who don't have to worry about losing their jobs, losing their health insurance, losing their homes. That's about 2% of the population, with the balance of GOP support coming from folks who are just as vulnerable as the rest of us but are too obtuse to realize that they're being used.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on November 6, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

That's called taking governing seriously, my friends.

I'm sure Republicans feel that 200,000 American families being severely financially hurt for 5 weeks is a small price to pay to stop the Islamo-fascist-Hitlerian-Vote-stealing-Pimpsters from ruining this great country of ours.

So, yes. In their minds, they're taking it "seriously".

Posted by: oh my on November 6, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

They are representing Republican - not American - Republican!

Posted by: Mark-NC on November 6, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

It also took sticking in the vile extension
of the home buyers tax credit.

I'll probably try to take their free money by swapping houses
with my neighbor.

Posted by: catclub on November 6, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Who are they representing?" Easy: the rich f**cks who voted them into office. Seriously, I think that these people actively want to provoke a revolution. I can see no rational reason for them to act in such provocative ways.


Posted by: Zorro on November 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

A friend was advised he'd be laid off in two weeks, immediately called an employment agency, got an interview and job offer the next day for an equivalent job...then called unemployment and found he could collect unemployment for 65 weeks.

Which would you choose?

Unemployment is a lagging indicator. Ha, ha.

Posted by: Linda Re on November 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

More "black-mail" legislation that should never have been included with the main bill and would not have been save for the filibuster...the senate blackmailer's tool.

Posted by: bjobotts on November 6, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Poison pills was the term President Clinton used , first time I ever heard the term . I guess it never will stop until all the republican situation comedies are cancelled .

Posted by: FRP on November 6, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK
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