House/Senate showdown coming over unemployment benefits?

posted at 3:21 pm on March 17, 2014 by Dustin Siggins

In 2008, at the height of the recession, Congress created an unemployment benefits program that was supposed to be temporary. Like many “temporary” programs, it has now become near-permanent, at least in the eyes of most Democrats and some Republicans. And while there has been no new extension since the end of 2013, due to Republican resistance in the Senate and House, it looks like a deal was struck last week that may get benefits back up and running retroactively, and apply through the end of May.

Five Republican senators have signed on to the measure, which would apply the benefits retroactively and pay for the roughly $9.5 billion cost through an accounting gimmick known as pension smoothing, raised custom fees in 2024 and an adjustment to payment procedures for single-employer pension plans.

Early indications are that those five — Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) — will be the only Republicans to support the bill. A spokesman for Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), who supported early compromises to pass unemployment insurance, said that he would not back this bill because it lacked “credible reforms.”

The bill will end payments to millionaires, thanks to Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), but that will only save $20 to $30 million annually.

This is pretty bad news — the nation needs budget cuts and tax reform, not increases in both — but it looks like the House may ride to the rescue, at least temporarily:

House Speaker John Boehner said Friday he thinks a bipartisan Senate deal to renew expired benefits for the long-term unemployed isn’t feasible, a remark that suggested the agreement is in trouble in the Republican-run House.

Asked Friday by The Associated Press what he thought of the Senate compromise, he said, “You mean the one that can’t be implemented?”

Asked if his comment meant he didn’t like the measure or that he wouldn’t bring it to the House floor for debate, Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “I didn’t say that.”

….

An aide to the speaker later said that Boehner believes making the jobless benefits retroactive to when that program expired in late December, which the Senate deal would do, isn’t workable.

Boehner is also unhappy that the Senate proposal lacks provisions creating jobs, the aide said, a condition Boehner has said must be part of any plan extending the benefits. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss Boehner’s comments.

Unfortunately, Boehner’s resistance may not be enough, if the Senate passes the bill. In an election year, with the word “compromise” being thrown around because Democrats are “only” applying the benefits until May, and Republicans already being viewed as the party of the rich, short-term political survival may win the day.

Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, unemployment is still high and the American people are still suffering greatly from the government-induced economic crash and subsequent weak recovery. With the help of the mainstream and liberal media — yes, a somewhat redundant phrase — Democrats have been able to pretend that their policies are good for the nation. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to react to Democratic initiatives, not stand up around a cohesive regulatory, tax, and spending reform package that would get the nation finally up and running again.

And the GOP continues to suffer, as its attempts at Democratic-lite proposals are matched by an inability to initiate with sound policy proposals that would inspire conservatives and moderates alike, and take the advantage from Democrats.

In his latest column — a true must-read — George Will gave excellent guidance to Republicans on how spending in agriculture, food stamps, and Federal Reserve policies makes income inequality worse. May it give them guidance on how to find real solutions, not join Democrats in continuing the high-spending, government-growing status quo.

Dustin Siggins is the Washington, D.C. Correspondent for Lifesitenews.com and formerly the primary blogger with Tea Party Patriots. He is a co-author of the forthcoming book, Bankrupt Legacy: The Future of the Debt-Paying Generation. His work has been published by numerous online and print publications, including USA Today, Roll Call, Hot Air, Huffington Post, Mediaite, and First Things.

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At least Boehner is trying to fold now at the start.

txaggie on March 17, 2014 at 3:25 PM

If the economy is so great then why do they need to extend this yet again? This is what Boner needs to point out. This is fluking ridiculous.

jawkneemusic on March 17, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Jump down is more like it.

I hope the Rs jump into a deep lake.

Schadenfreude on March 17, 2014 at 3:27 PM

The bill will end payments to millionaires, thanks to Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), but that will only save $20 to $30 million annually.

Then millionaires should not be required to pay the insurance premium. Is this the path they really want to go with this?

astonerii on March 17, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to react to Democratic initiatives, not stand up around a cohesive regulatory, tax, and spending reform package that would get the nation finally up and running again.

And the GOP continues to suffer, as its attempts at Democratic-lite proposals are matched by an inability to initiate with sound policy proposals that would inspire conservatives and moderates alike, and take the advantage from Democrats.

Republicans won’t coalesce around around any reforms, because the liberal wing of the party supports the Democrat initiatives (or its own version of them). The mistake being made here is incorrectly identifying “liberal Republicans” as “moderates.”

Doomberg on March 17, 2014 at 3:32 PM

There will be no resistance. Republicans will cave. Just get it over with.

JAGonzo on March 17, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Wait, what about Recovery Summer, Return of Recovery Summer, Son of Recovery Summer, Revenge of Recovery Summer, and Dude, Where’s My Recovery Summer?

rogerb on March 17, 2014 at 3:36 PM

As unpopular as the idea of unemployment benefits might be amongst the conservative crowd, the painful truth is, that the employment rate is the worst it’s been since the great depression. Just telling people that they are lazy government cheese handout losers who should get a job will not change their ability to find a job, when their are no jobs to be found.

The Obama administration has killed the American economy, conservatives need to quit playing gotcha politics, it’s time to either admit that the economy isn’t as bad as conservatives claim it is, in which case, yes, veto any unemployment insurance bill, or admit that it is as bad as conservative have been claiming it is and pass a unemployment bill.

Until the economy actually improves, unemployment insurances benefits might be painful and distasteful, but it is necessary. Until the Government quits imposing draconian regulations and crushing tax rates, the economy will not improve.

Every Conservative with two or more functional braincells knows that the Obama Administrations claims of a 6+ unemployment rate are straight up lies. Even the Democrats wouldn’t be demanding extensions of unemployment benefits if it were around 6 percent, they have far more other insane government programs they would much rather be spending your money on. Like, studying the impact on homosexuals of a new highway in Bogota or teaching Chinese hooker to drink.

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended

I got news for you, the recession is only over “on paper”. Don’t believe me? Ask almost anyone in “flyover” country not working the new oil fields.

Mini-14 on March 17, 2014 at 3:39 PM

I guarantee there will be a cave. Not even up for discussion

And then the typical “This is not the hill to die on” mantra will be spewed from the establishment and outlets that carry water for the establishment.

tcufrog on March 17, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, unemployment is still high and the American people are still suffering greatly from the government-induced economic crash and subsequent weak recovery.

Let’s call the current period the Great Erosion – eroding economy, eroding jobs, eroding confidence, eroding trust, eroding faith.
When we’re all worn down to little nubs of our former selves, we’ll herd together so much better.

The Great Erosion – turning people into sheeple since 2009.

Marcola on March 17, 2014 at 3:40 PM

What about “when you stop unemployment benefits, people historically go back to work” doesn’t Congress understand?

This is just another election calculation where the participants are calculating that throwing the masses some bread will get them a vote.

Which means it will pass, because Congress is loaded with cowards.

And Boehner is, as always, full of it.

Marcus Traianus on March 17, 2014 at 3:43 PM

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Understood, but what I think Boehner is saying is that yet another extension of unemployment benefits must be tied to freeing up the economy by rolling back job-killing regulations, taxes, etc.:

Boehner is also unhappy that the Senate proposal lacks provisions creating jobs, the aide said, a condition Boehner has said must be part of any plan extending the benefits. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss Boehner’s comments.

He’s not saying he won’t pass it….he seems to be saying there needs to be some compromise from the Left-wing freaks that have taken over the Dem party.

visions on March 17, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Is it just me, but do any of the rest of you perceive the Republicans right now as like a sports team that has the lead and is trying to run the clock out?

In other words, I feel as if the Republicans feel like the mid-term elections are going to go their way–and they’re doing anything and everything they can go along and get along with the Democrats until that happens. In short, they appear to me to be doing everything in their power keep from being criticized by the media so as not to jeopardize their perceived, impending victories in the fall.

Anyone else feel this way?

Bob Davis on March 17, 2014 at 3:46 PM

What about “when you stop unemployment benefits, people historically go back to work” doesn’t Congress understand?

Marcus Traianus on March 17, 2014 at 3:43 PM

So, you are saying that the economy really is perfectly fine just like Obama claims. That claim, is a nice sounding political sound bite, it however ignores reality. America’s are not out of work by the tens of millions because they all want to sit around collecting unemployment checks and eating government cheese. In other words, that statement is pure political gotcha bull$hit.

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 3:49 PM

House/Senate showdown cave-in coming over unemployment benefits?

….fixed!

KOOLAID2 on March 17, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Where I’m at, I see nothing but Help Wanted signs, from the grocery stores and restaurants to the trucking companies.

The Eagle Ford Shale kinda sorta sucks the air out of that No Jobs meme. There shouldn’t be anyone in Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma drawing unemployment, if they’ve got a truck and can borrow an RV to live in.

Pless1foEngrish on March 17, 2014 at 4:01 PM

This is not the hill to die on!™

Megyn Kellys Lipstick on March 17, 2014 at 4:05 PM

If the economy is so great then why do they need to extend this yet again? This is what Boner needs to point out. This is fluking ridiculous.

jawkneemusic on March 17, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Well said. You beat me to it. Her in NC McCrory had demonstrated that reducing unemployment bennies leads to more people finding work and higher labor participation. Two chronic problems thanks to PBHO.

However, it is not the most popular way to proceed and probably best dealt with after the elections. Tough love is not the best way to get votes. So, as you said, the best course for the moment is to point out that the reason we still need these emergency measures is because we have not improved enough to end the emergency.

MJBrutus on March 17, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Where I’m at, I see nothing but Help Wanted signs, from the grocery stores and restaurants to the trucking companies.

The Eagle Ford Shale kinda sorta sucks the air out of that No Jobs meme. There shouldn’t be anyone in Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma drawing unemployment, if they’ve got a truck and can borrow an RV to live in.

Pless1foEngrish on March 17, 2014 at 4:01 PM

NEWS FLASH: Pless1, 80 percent of the country do not live in Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma. Yes, there are places where the new oil boom is creating jobs, but the vast majority of those jobs are not jobs you can pick your family up from in Oregon or California and move to Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma to live off.

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Get a job picking vegetables …

Whitey Ford on March 17, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Yet another prime opportunity for the sackless GOP to cave and give the Dims and Obama everything they want.

“…this isn’t that fight either.” – Mitch McConnell

Meople on March 17, 2014 at 4:10 PM

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Well said.

Until the conservatives are in a position to make the necessary changes our country desperately needs, they shouldn’t make those suffering the worst needlessly suffer any more.

If things were as good as the libs like to make it seem, steps like this extension wouldn’t be necessary. Also if the conservatives were in power, we’d be on a much better track regarding jobs and the economy and again these types of steps wouldn’t be needed.

Unfortunately for the moment, neither is the case and good people are hurting.

Oxymoron on March 17, 2014 at 4:15 PM

NEWS FLASH: Pless1, 80 percent of the country do not live in Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma. Yes, there are places where the new oil boom is creating jobs, but the vast majority of those jobs are not jobs you can pick your family up from in Oregon or California and move to Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma to live off.

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Never said the entire country lived in the Republic of Texas (curious as to how you reasoned that).

Plenty of men working here, sending money home to the family in other states. Women too. Plenty of singles, too, making $50K, $80K, $100K- can’t feed a family on that?

Wages are high, here. That’s why its so hard to get workers at Dairy Queen and HEB. Cost of living is low (if you can find a place to live)

2 years of unemployment bennies certainly inhibits people from pulling up stakes and finding a better place to live, I’ll grant you that.

How long will all those folks in Oregon and California wait for good jobs to come back and the housing market to revive?

Pless1foEngrish on March 17, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Plenty of singles, too, making $50K, $80K, $100K- can’t feed a family on that?

Pless1foEngrish on March 17, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Quit dreaming, people making $50K, $80K, $100K in the oil boom area’s are high skilled workers in a niche market.

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Quit dreaming, people making $50K, $80K, $100K in the oil boom area’s are high skilled workers in a niche market.

oscarwilde on March 17, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Take a 6 week truck driving course.

Take a 6 month welding certification at your local technical college.

Come to Texas or North Dakota.

Make money.

Or don’t.

The gal that does wash/dry/fold laundry for the crew here is making $40K just by hustling. Highly technical work, just like you say.

Catering trucks making barbeque are charging $1200-$2000/day catering 2 meals for fracking crews. Really niche market, making lunch and dinner.

There is a lot of money in the oil patch. Rising tide, boats lifting….

Pless1foEngrish on March 17, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Then millionaires should not be required to pay the insurance premium. Is this the path they really want to go with this?

astonerii on March 17, 2014 at 3:29 PM

No – the path being trod down is every government program becoming an explicit wealth-transfer program. After all, Occupy Wall Street won without even knowing it decades before they came into existence, with every tax change since 1986 shifting more of the burden to “the rich”.

Steve Eggleston on March 17, 2014 at 5:23 PM

The Reps just rolled over on the “AG Bill”, which is really the “Food Stamp Bill”. This will be no different.

RADIOONE on March 17, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.

Ronald Reagan

Wade on March 17, 2014 at 6:30 PM

America’s are not out of work by the tens of millions because they all want to sit around collecting unemployment checks and eating government cheese. In other words, that statement is pure political gotcha bull$hit.

I disagree with this as an employer. Everytime I am trying to hire someone, I get large response. When narrowing down the candidates I find that I get one call in to them and then they never respond again.

Then the next time I am hiring I mysteriously get the same applicants a few months later applying for the same job. Same results.

So yes, they “want to sit around collecting unemployment checks and eating government cheese”

Maybe after unemployment extensions run-out I can hire some people. Then again, do I want these people to work for me? I think not!

Scott from Tampa on March 17, 2014 at 6:31 PM

From 3 articles above this one:

So in essence, the job numbers we’ve been seeing, even though mediocre in a real sense, aren’t even as good as they seem.

Oxymoron on March 17, 2014 at 6:36 PM

The Reps just rolled over on the “AG Bill”, which is really the “Food Stamp Bill”. This will be no different.

RADIOONE on March 17, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Food stamps and then the takers get their kids fed at school… double dipping.

Wade on March 17, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Wanna see more unemployment? Raise the minimum wage and force overtime.
Where are the job numbers worse? Union, non-right to work States.
If I am forced to pay $10-15/hr I will choose one or more of the following:
1/ Automate.
2/ Cut hours
3/ Cut my workforce by 1/3.
4/ Eliminate benefit programs.
5/ Pass costs onto customers
6/ Close the business.

kregg on March 18, 2014 at 6:16 AM

Wanna see more unemployment? Raise the minimum wage and force overtime.
Where are the job numbers worse? Union, non-right to work States.
If I am forced to pay $10-15/hr I will choose one or more of the following:
1/ Automate.
2/ Cut hours
3/ Cut my workforce by 1/3.
4/ Eliminate benefit programs.
5/ Pass costs onto customers
6/ Close the business.

kregg on March 18, 2014 at 6:16 AM

7. Move business out of country.

Wade on March 18, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Oxymoron on March 17, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Sometimes pain is good. It alerts us when something is wrong. You don’t fix a problem by turning off the alert mechanism so that everyone can remain happily numb. We were not created to live that type of vegetable existence.

dominigan on March 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM