SEIU: When Congress Returns, Republicans May Block Unemployment Again

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–April 9, 2010. 

As reported this morning in Congress Daily, ‘The Senate is set for a Monday cloture vote on a bill to extend unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits through May 5, but Democrats are not sure they can pick up at least one Republican to cut off debate.” This is merely the latest demonstration of Republican refusal to cooperate on even the most innocuous, who-could-oppose-it, legislation, for the sheer purpose of denying Democrats a political “victory”–and the latest in a string of blocks specifically on extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed.

WHY BLOCK UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS? FOR REPUBLICANS, IT’S PARTISANSHIP OVER PROGRESS.

Sen. McCain: “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year.”

“There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.” (The Hill, 3/22/10)

THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME THEY’VE BLOCKED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE…

Democrats Asked For An Extension Of Unemployment Benefits 11 Times.

Sen. Bunning Objected to Each Request. On Wednesday, February 24, 2010, Majority Leader Reid asked for unanimous consent to pass an extension of unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans. Senator Bunning objected. On Thursday evening, Senator Reid asked for unanimous consent twice and Senator Durbin asked for unanimous consent five times. On Friday morning, Senator Durbin again asked for unanimous consent to extend unemployment. Senator Bunning objected to each request. On Monday, March 1st, Senator Reid asked for unanimous consent to pass the bill, as did Senator Durbin. Senator Bunning objected to each request. [Congressional Record, 2/24/10; Senate Floor, 2/25/10, 2/26/10, 3/1/10]

Sen. Coburn objected an additional 5 times.

DO THEY JUST NOT GET IT, OR DO THEY JUST NOT CARE?

Sen. Kyl: Unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting.

Ryan Grim of Huffington Post wrote, “Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting “because people are being paid even though they’re not working.” [LINK]

Sen. Coburn: Blocking Benefits Okay Because It Only Affects “A Relatively Small Number of People”

In an interview with The Hill, Sen. Coburn said the Republican obstruction of $9 billion in extended unemployment benefits isn’t a big deal because it only affects “a relatively small group of people.”

212,000 people nationwide and 6,000 in Senate Minority McConnell’s home state lost benefits this week alone.

Nationally, 212,000 people this week alone lost benefits because of the Senate’s inaction. Reports David Lightman of McClatchy newspapers, “In Kentucky, 6,000 people lost coverage this week because of the delay. Nearly 130,000 Kentuckians are receiving benefits through a federal extension program and will exhaust their benefits during the next three months unless there’s an extension.”

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With 2.2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers–not just corporations and CEOs–benefit from today’s global economy.

 

Source: seiu.org