House Republicans said Tuesday that they would like to extend unemployment insurance benefits for struggling Americans. President Obama has said that passing an extension of the social spending program is essential for Americans unable to find work in a tough economy.
That’s where the similarities stop.
Democrats want to count the extension, which will cost $33 billion, as emergency deficit spending.
Republican leadership sought to lay out their alternative, “Unemployment benefits yes; deficits no.”
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., charged “Surely out of a trillion dollar budget here in this town we can find a way to pay for these unemployment benefits.”
Cantor says that part of the problem lies with House Democratic leadership. “We have a Speaker of the House who said last week that somehow unemployment benefits is (sic) a jobs program. We couldn’t disagree more,” Cantor said. Pelosi said that the program helps create jobs since the people receiving government assistance tend to immediately spend the money and stimulate the economy.
The Republican effort to try to find offsets looks to be doomed though, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has scheduled a vote on the package for later this afternoon.
Reid, with the help of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and the soon-to-be junior West Virginia Democratic Senator Carte Goodwin is expected to have the 60 votes necessary to pass a bill without spending offsets.