Jobless numbers came in last month showing increases at a 20-year high, but Republicans, true to form, are blocking a bill that offers a 13-week extension of benefits for states with unemployment rates over 6%. At issue: $11.7 billion in benefits for some 3.2 million unemployed workers, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's a whopping $3656.25 per beneficiary.
The GOP complaint? They view the Democratic plan as a giveaway. A spending spree for people who don't deserve it.
Democrats are likely to respond by demonstrating some of the irony of this newfound Republican parsimony, by attaching the unemployment extension to the $150 billion-plus Iraq emergency supplemental expected on the floor in the coming days.
Should be an interesting showdown, though perhaps we've already seen this movie. The president will have his pick of out-of-touch reasons for vetoing even the Iraq funding bill. He's already said he'd veto a free-standing unemployment bill, and the Iraq appropriations too, if they didn't meet his specifications -- i.e., no withdrawal language and a cap of $108 billion. (Seems a bit ridiculous to use the words "cap" and "one hundred eight billion dollars" in the same sentence, but there it is.)
Looks like this could get pushed into July, with the Congress set to recess at the end of next week.
Source: By Daily Kos