It took some doing, but the Senate passed a resolution today to get some benefit extensions to the long-term unemployed:
The move means that lawmakers are now wrangling about whether -- and how -- the cost of the $6.4 billion program should be offset.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the White House has indicated it will "run the traps" on "reasonable" proposals to pay for the jobless aid extension but that Democrats believe the program should be extended without offsets. His Republican counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said "there may be a way forward here" if Democrats allow some GOP amendments to be considered.
The bad news: it's for just a measly three months. We're talking about long-term unemployed who are having a difficult time finding work after
The worse news: the House - oh yeah, them - still has to take up this issue.
If the final bill does pass the Senate, it's not clear that the GOP-led House will take it up. House Republican leaders have painted the current proposal as fiscally irresponsible.
In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner said that any extension of the program must be paid for and contain House-backed job creation plans.
"One month ago I personally told the White House that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work," he said. "To date, the president has offered no such plan."By the by, the "House-back job creation plans?" To ease regulations on onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling (with no guarantees it will create more jobs), to cut regulations overall, and cut taxes on small businesses that economists note won't do much to encourage any increase in hirings.
And when Boehner claims Obama isn't offering any jobs bill, just remember Boehner is lying through his ass.
The worser news: the most obvious way to pay for this - reforming the tax code to close tax loopholes for the uber-rich, or raising the tax rate on capital gains which most rich people live off of and which rates are lower than income tax rates - will be off the table because God Help Us the modern GOP will NEVER raise taxes as long as Grover Norquist and the Club for Greed crowd are around to throw their goddamn hissy fits.
There's a good amount of talk about how income inequality and GOP failure to take unemployment seriously is making the Republicans look bad. That's not the issue. The issue is that GODDAMMIT we need to make job creation a top priority in our nation, and that involves getting government (Congress, HELLO WAKE UP) to pass the economic programs we know create jobs: construction and bridge repair, to top the list. But if we're stuck with a House GOP that refuses to do a damn thing to help the lower classes (this is including what's left of the middle class), then by all means let's make the Republicans look as bad as they deserve, so that when November 2014 rolls around we can get Americans to vote the bums out and vote in people who WILL do something about creating good jobs at good wages.