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July 25, 2014

Posts in "Unemployment Extension"

July 14, 2014

Obama Backs GOP’s Highway Bill, May Doom Unemployment Extension

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Obama backed the highway patch sponsored by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., in what may be the last nail in the coffin for an unemployment extension. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

Obama Knocks GOP on Unemployment Extension, Tax Cuts for Wealthy (Video)

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

No Unemployment Extension Add to Job Training Bill

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

Unemployment Extension: Score One for Gridlock

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A Senate-passed unemployment extension would have expired yesterday. Kevin McCarthy, of Boonsboro, Md., speaks about his troubles living without an unemployment insurance extension during a rally on the House steps of the Capitol on May 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

Obama ‘Hasn’t Given Up’ on Unemployment Extension

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Rep. David Cicilline has posted his “Faces of the Unemployed” project on the wall outside of his office, part of the Democrats’ push for a renewal of unemployment benefits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

Carney: ‘A Shame’ Unemployment Extension Is Going Nowhere (Video)

492586773 445x296 Carney: A Shame Unemployment Extension Is Going Nowhere (Video)

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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 Obama Call Boehner on Unemployment Extension?

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Obama hasn’t picked up the phone to call Boehner to negotiate an unemployment extension. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

White House Stops Short of Veto Threat on Tax Extenders Bill (Video)

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Obama wants the Senate’s tax extenders bill to be amended so that it doesn’t add to the deficit, but hasn’t threatened to veto it. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

May 9, 2014

Will Obama Threaten to Veto Senate’s Tax-Cut Bill?

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Obama is against a tax extenders package that is not paid for and has criticized the House for not passing an unemployment extension. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

May 7, 2014

Perez Offers to Negotiate Unemployment Extension With Boehner

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With an unemployment extension stalled in the House, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez sent a letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, offering to negotiate on a range of job-creation measures and urging the speaker to act.

But Perez said the extension should not have to wait.

“You have indicated that [Emergency Unemployment Compensation] should only be extended in combination with job-creation measures, but EUC is itself an effective job creation tool,” Perez said in the letter sent Wednesday.

Perez said the decision not to extend unemployment benefits has so far cost 80,000 jobs and will cost an estimated 240,000 jobs by the end of the year. He also offered to negotiate additional job creation measures.

“In addition to the large job creation impacts of unemployment insurance, the Administration would welcome the opportunity to work with you on several job creation measures that Congress could pass together with the EUC extension. For example, we are eager to work on bipartisan legislation to fix our immigration system, simplify the tax code for businesses, support transportation reauthorization, and modernize our skills and job training programs,” Perez wrote.

The letter didn’t impress the speaker’s office.

“Secretary Perez, and the entire Obama administration, have been aware of House Republicans’ position on this issue since December of last year: We need a fiscally responsible package that also helps to create more private-sector jobs,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement. “This letter – once again – does not include such a plan.” Full story

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