- Citizens United Case Helped Elect More Republicans
- House Republicans Don't Expect Government Shutdown
- Christie Makes Mexico Trip as Foreign Policy Test
- Franken Maintains Lead in Minnesota
- Senator's Refusal to Resign Changed South Dakota Politics
Posts in "Unemployment Extension"
July 31, 2014
Long-term unemployed people still wondering if Congress will act on an unemployment extension restoring benefits for millions before going home for the August recess are going to be disappointed again.
The expired emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) program is still dead, and shows no real signs of life beyond weekly press events from Democrats and the occasional long shot proposal from a senator or two.
The House Rules Committee left an unemployment extension off of its final schedule ahead of the break. Senate Democrats aren’t planning to force another vote before heading out, either. President Barack Obama has occasionally spoken out about unemployment benefits in his economic speeches, but mainly to attack Republicans. There is no strategy from the White House or Senate Democrats to force action on an unemployment extension, and there’s no expectation that will change.
July 14, 2014
President Barack Obama is backing the House GOP’s proposed Highway Trust Fund patch, even though it could postpone a long-term bill until the next Congress and may doom any remaining chance for an unemployment extension.
“With surface transportation funding running out and hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk later this summer, the Administration supports House passage of H.R. 5021,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a Statement of Administration Policy. “This legislation would provide for continuity of funding for the Highway Trust Fund during the height of the summer construction season and keep Americans at work repairing the Nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems.”
The roughly $10 billion highway patch is paid for with extension of customs fees and with so-called pension smoothing — which delays payments made by corporations to their pension funds, temporarily boosting their profits and taxes paid to the government.
The Senate had used those same offsets to pay for its five-month, retroactive unemployment extension. Extended unemployment benefits expired in December, and the House has declined to act, with Republicans suggesting that cutting people off of benefits — more than 3 million to date — has helped lower the unemployment rate. Full story
June 27, 2014
President Barack Obama attacked Republicans Friday for failing to pass an unemployment extension — or anything else on his agenda — while voting for a tax cut for the wealthy.
“They’ve said no to extending unemployment insurance for more than three million Americans who are out there looking every single day for a new job, despite the fact that we know it would be good not just for those families who are working hard to try to get back on their feet, but for the economy as a whole,” Obama said during a campaign-style speech on the economy in Minneapolis. “Rather than invest in working families getting ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.”
When the audience booed, Obama said, ”Don’t boo, by the way. I want you to vote. I mean, over and over again, they show that they’ll do anything to keep in place systems that really help folks at the top but don’t help you. And they don’t seem to mind.” Full story
June 26, 2014
A few months back, a bipartisan job-training bill looked like perhaps the most likely chance to revive an unemployment extension. But the White House and Senate Democrats aren’t prepared to risk it.
The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy backing the job training rewrite Wednesday, without mentioning unemployment benefits. That’s not a surprise; President Barack Obama also hasn’t demanded unemployment benefits extensions on any other bill, including a package of corporate tax cuts. Full story
June 1, 2014
It’s official: Gridlock is winning the battle over an unemployment extension. It’s June 1, the day after a Senate-passed unemployment benefits extension would have expired, and advocates are no closer to restoring them.
An estimated 2.9 million unemployed workers have been cut off from the now-defunct Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. A House discharge petition started by Democrats aimed at forcing the bill on the floor stalled at 193 signatures — 25 short the 218 needed. No one has signed since March.
President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats may not have “given up” on an unemployment extension, but the agenda of the president and of Congress has been focused elsewhere — on the Veterans Affairs scandal, on Obama’s new plan to cut carbon emissions at power plants, his plan to phase troops out of Afghanistan, on a last, major push for an immigration overhaul, and assorted other issues. Full story
May 29, 2014
President Barack Obama “hasn’t given up” on an unemployment extension, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday, even though a five-month bill is about to expire without action in the House.
Asked what the unemployed should think, Carney said they don’t have many friends in House Republican leadership. He said it’s a “shame” that the GOP hasn’t acted to extend the benefits. He also noted that Republicans supported an unemployment benefits extension under President George W. Bush when conditions were better than they are today.
Carney said the president is still calling on Congress to pass an extension and “hopes they do.” Full story
May 21, 2014
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday it’s “a shame” that House Republicans haven’t passed an unemployment extension — and suggested they should act without requiring something in return.
“It is our view that these are benefits that ought to be extended to Americans — to millions of Americans who need them,” Carney said. “We do not view it as a cynical horse-trading exercise to achieve some ideological objective.”
Carney was asked by CQ Roll Call at Wednesday’s briefing about Speaker John A. Boehner’s unrequited demand — repeated often — that the White House and the president make a new offer on jobs legislation before the speaker will consider an unemployment extension.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel responded to Carney’s comment Wednesday in an email.
“Measures to create more private-sector jobs — like the dozens of House-passed jobs bills awaiting action in the Democrat-controlled Senate — are not ‘cynical,’” Steel said. “They are a serious effort to address the American people’s number-one concern.” Full story
May 14, 2014
Will President Barack Obama pick up his vaunted phone and call Speaker John A. Boehner to try and cut a deal on an unemployment extension?
Obama and his lobbying arm, Organizing for Action, have urged supporters to call members of Congress and ask them to pass an unemployment extension, but so far he doesn’t appear to have taken his own advice.
Last week, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez sent Boehner a letter offering to meet and negotiate an unemployment extension, but nothing appears to have come of that, either.
A GOP House leadership aide dismissed the letter in an email. Full story
May 13, 2014
The White House wants the Senate’s $85 billion tax extenders bill amended so that it does not add to the deficit, but stopped short of issuing a veto threat Tuesday.
“The Administration supports the extension of many of the tax provisions in the Senate bill, such as those that support America’s small businesses, help unemployed veterans find jobs, and promote clean energy production and research and development,” said Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for the White House. “The President in his budget has put forward a way to pay for these tax provisions so they don’t add to the deficit and hopes that as legislation moves forward, Congress will offset their cost by closing tax loopholes.”
Whithorne’s statement, however, does not include a threat to veto the bill — either over the deficit or the lack of an unemployment extension — another priority for the White House.
May 9, 2014
Defying the White House and a yearslong push for more revenue, Senate Democrats are on the verge of passing an $85 billion grab bag of tax cuts with no plans to pay for them.
The question now is whether President Barack Obama will stick to his guns and threaten to veto the bill — picking an intraparty fight in an election year with control of the Senate at stake.
Ask a liberal Senate Democrat about the deficit-financed “tax extenders” package headed for the floor next week, and you’re likely to hear a refrain that could have been uttered by a Republican — some tax cuts shouldn’t have to be paid for because they pay for themselves. Or extending an expired tax cut shouldn’t count — never mind those pesky pay-as-you-go rules.
But the White House’s budget proposed a corporate tax package that would generate revenue to help pay for its transportation bill, not another tax cut that would inflate the deficit.
“Our position remains unchanged and we continue to believe the extenders should be paid for,” an administration official told CQ Roll Call.
(Update 5/13: The White House declined to issue a veto threat on the bill.)
The administration hasn’t yet threatened a veto of the Senate measure, but the Office of Management and Budget issued a sternly worded veto threat over the House GOP’s tax extender bill resurrecting the research and development tax credit and making it permanent, at a cost of $156 billion over the coming decade. Some 62 House Democrats defied their leaders and the president’s veto threat to help pass the bill Friday with a potentially veto-proof majority.
It’s not the tax break Obama opposes — his budget would revive it too. It’s the not-paying-for-it part. Full story