July 20th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Extend unemployment benefits without a way to pay for them?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After weeks of haggling - the Senate is one step closer to extending unemployment benefits.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/20/art.obama.rose.jpg caption="Pres. Obama speaks to the press at the White House Rose Garden after calling on Congress to extend long-term unemployment benefits to assist Americans still out of work."]
Two Republicans joined Democrats - in breaking the GOP filibuster - against extending the benefits through November. Republican leaders had earlier blocked a vote several times. They argue that any benefits extension should be offset by spending cuts. And they have a point.

This nation is quickly headed down the road to insolvency. We're more than $13 trillion in debt. And because the Democrats didn't bother to offer a way to pay for the benefits extension, another $34 billion will simply be added to the deficit.

President Obama tore into Republicans ahead of the vote... arguing that they were operating on a "misguided notion" that a new bill would discourage people from looking for work. Mr. Obama says the unemployed aren't looking for a handout, that they desperately want to work. The president described the GOP as hypocrites for voting for these benefits under Pres. Bush... but not now.

But Republicans insist it's all about fiscal responsibility. They insist they're not against unemployment benefits... they've said they'll support the bill, but only if it's paid for...

More than 2.5 million Americans have run out of unemployment benefits since the deadline passed in June.

The national unemployment rate is hovering just below 10 percent; and many economists expect it to stay high well into next year.

Here’s my question to you: Should unemployment benefits be extended without a way to pay for them?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mike in Sonoma, California writes:
Republicans have no problem re-extending the tax cuts without paying for them, which would increase the deficit to a far greater degree. From their perspective, it's OK to give more money to the top one percent that don't need it, but not to help the bottom 99 percent which frequently does really need help through no fault of their own.

Mark writes:
I think it's about time that we draw the line on unemployment benefits at 99 weeks. Enough is enough, especially given the fact that the Democrats have not found a way to pay for these benefits other than tacking them onto our massive debt. Studies have proven that extending unemployment benefits merely extends the duration of unemployment, as people become less motivated to find a job.

George writes:
Yes. The benefits only increase the debt by a small increment. Glad to read the GOP wants to reduce the deficit. I'm sure the GOP doesn't want to waste time and energy on such small peccadilloes as unemployment benefits. I am waiting for their major plan to slash the budget for the military-industrial complex... Still waiting.

Karl writes:
Nobody wants people to go hungry, but my anecdotal evidence is indeed that people with 6 months unemployment insurance coming don't run out the door looking for a new job. They look at it as a breather, and why not take advantage of a program they feel they've paid into. Then, when there's a month or two left, they start looking in earnest.

Larry in Wisconsin writes:
There are many areas where cutbacks could cover the cost of this benefit, and to not apply them is criminal! The apparent goal of Obamaland is to get the people to a point where they have no choice but to rely on the government. Most people aren't intelligent enough to understand what is taking place here, it's called Socialism, and we are headed down that path!

Cindy in Rahway, New Jersey writes:
Jack, Ask someone who has no food to put on the table through no fault of their own. I would guess they would say "yes."

soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. MaggieL

    Yes. Extend the unemployment benefits for Americans. Pay for it by decreasing the amounts given to "rebuild" Afgahanastan and Iraq.

    July 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  2. Reed, Pasadena CA

    The Republicans are right that it is a bad thing to spend federal money without offsetting it in the budget. However, the Bush administration did many things, all supported by the Republican party, that weren't paid for, which is why the Bush administration added more than $5 trillion to the deficit, almost doubling it in 8 years (and that doesn't include 2009 which was in reality a Bush era budget).

    So, the Republicans have no credibility on this issue, especially when they want to extend the Bush tax cuts, without offsetting them, at a cost 20 times this unemployment insurance extension.

    Money given to the people on unemployment comes right back into the financial system because they spend it. It also will help keep some people afloat until the economy improves and they get a job, at which point they will pay off their unemployment when get start paying taxes back into the economy. It's also cruel to cut people off while giving the rich more tax breaks.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm |

    JACK: Before Obama, The Rep. was giving money away to anybody.Since Obama, The Rep. party is trying everything to hurt him.They are so jealous of him,They can't stand it,To me he is a good man.Every time he trys to help the little man,he gets hammered.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  4. Eric Wasek

    Here we go again Jack. The liberals are trying to be the Robin Hood of the 21th Century. The democrats want to give more benefits to those who don't work. The majority of the unemployed have no reason to go out and get a job because liberals give them all of the luxuries they need to live for free. Obama will pay for this the same way he pays for all of his other careless spending, we working Americans will pay for it.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  5. Creature

    Of course they should, Jack. The real question here is why, a couple of wars later, have Republicans suddenly started worrying about paying for things? Only when a Democrat is in office do they start caring about deficits. They are a bunch of hypocrites using the unemployed to grandstand while people suffer during the worst economic crisis in a generation.

    -Creature NYC

    July 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  6. Vic Dreyer Jr

    Yes, we should extend help to our unemployed Americans without a way to pay for it, just as we help Iraqis and Afghans without a way to pay for it.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  7. mike williams

    we cannot keep adding to our debt. everytime i look at our grandson who is four years old i wonder what life is going to be like for him. we are in big trouble in our country and i see know way out. taxes are not the answer and will only make the economy worse.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  8. mike rubadue

    I do not believe anything should be passed without a way to pay for it.
    I believe all government officials should be taking a pay cut and a huge retirement benefit reduction as they are so far out of line with mainstream america the benefits near fantasy levels. Many educators also fall within those guidelines as well, but here in colorado with PERA paying 80 to 90 percent of normal wages in retirement is ridiculous, while those same educators complain about how we are depriving underpriviliged of the world. Rightttttttt

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  9. Joe in VA

    I thought the Republicans wanted to pay for this extension using unspent stimulus funds but the democrats opposed that approach. Seems that was a reasonable compromise but then, it really is not about benefits, it's all politics.

    Chatham, VA

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  10. Mike from CO

    While they should find a way to pay for it (one less war plane maybe?) the returned purchasing power of the unemployed far out weighs the minor addition to the deficit. Buying things = jobs, I thought the GOP was all about jobs?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  11. moneybags

    There is no reason to be concerned that the benefits have been made available with no way to pay for them. The US has an unlimited supply of money for anything that buys votes.

    I understand the plight of the unemployed but our government just cannot keep handing out things like this without making cuts elsewhere. Why our elected officials, at all levels, cannot understand this is beyond me.

    Oh wait, they can increases taxes. Foolish me.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  12. marcy from florida


    What difference does it make if 34 billion dollars is added to the deficit?
    Look at all the money that was given to Wall Street the Banks and Automakers. All of these people that are unemployed need to live. They need to support their families. These unemployed workers, worked and paid taxes and now it is payback time for as long as it takes.

    Actually, if any of these people have any medical problems they can try to apply for Social Security Disability.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  13. Eric Wasek

    By the way, I forgot to add this in my last comment, get a job you unemployed. Work hard for what you get. If your desperate for a job go to the military.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  14. Paul

    Yes – extend them asap!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  15. DON bEADLE

    I'm one of the people directly affected by this mater. My unemployment benifits ran out last month and I haven't had any income since. I lost my job of 9 years and have worked hard for the last 34 years faithfully paying taxes.
    I have lost my car, my apartment and am now living in a cheap motel room. I go out every day and look hard for a job- any job. Because I live in a rural area that has been hard hit by the bad economy, there are very few jobs if any.
    My unemployment insurance is all I have.
    I didn't deregulate the laws that led to the market collapse. The very government that is playing 'politcs' with my only sorce of income did!
    If they don't pass this bill, my next move is to go live under a bridge.
    I'm 53 years old and have never been homeless.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  16. Evan

    We save hundreds of billions of dollars to help unemployed Americans and stimulate our economy at home by withdrawing troops from Vietghanistan.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  17. Dave

    No! That's why the country is in the mess it is already- spending money we don't have. My heart aches for the 2.5 million people without benefits. But what about the other 300 million people, many of whom will have to foot the bill?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  18. naqibham

    That's the Dem way Jack... spend away... and call Republican's racist because they don't agree with a blank check without addressing payment.

    But that's what Democrats do... spend other peoples money... and put their hand out for more... and cry when they don't get it

    July 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  19. Kat K

    No, the benefits should not be extended unpaid for, but I honestly think that the continued extension w/ being paid for should be investigated also. The longer someone can get paid for doing nothing, the less likely they are to actively look for work in any meaningful way.

    Sooner or later, the money train needs to be stopped.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  20. Vicki

    No. I know an extension is needed but I see a lot of people that are not looking for work . A few people I know began putting in applications when the extension was denied. Instead of just handing people another extension people should have to prove they are actively looking for work to receive the benefits.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  21. jeana

    Nice Eric, I happen to be one of the many unemployed and to say that we are not looking for jobs is a joke. You have to realize that for every job offer there are hundreds of applications. I hope you dont have to go through what we all have to go through, never knowing if you are going to get a check the following week, wondering how you are going to feed your family, hoping you can keep the roof over your head.
    And you know what the best part is??? My car died, I have lousey bus service where I live and I cant buy another car because I dont have a job!!!!!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  22. Marc P.

    I don't think folks understand extended benefits.

    I became unemployed this past December and I recieved the usual 26 weeks of unemployment. Because the government did not extend benefits I already ran out.

    So no 99 weeks for me, and I am looking very hard for a job because unemployment is truly poverty level pay. I guess it was at least keeping me alive.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  23. Rock Blythe

    Everyone keeps saying that the unemployment rate is 9.5%.That does not count the millions of people who have run out of unemployment benefits. That 9.5 % only includes people still in the system drawing monetary benefits. The real unemployment number is probably more like 20% nationwide. Could somebody figure out what the real number and percentage of people who are out of work.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  24. Arnold MI

    When the Republican Party can explain to me how we are going to pay for two wars and a $800 billion defense budget, and the billions of dollars we spend every year on a bunch of BOZO's who call themselves Elected Officials, them they may convince me that we need to pay for unemployment benefits.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  25. Ken

    Yes this is emergency spending and not subject to PAYGO. The born again fiscal Republicans want to give the richest 2% a "tax break" which will cost us $678 Billion without paying for it. The Republicans are hypocrites !

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  26. Razzle Mantis

    No they should not. I am 22 know lots of places that are hiring and lots of people my age collecting unemployment without looking for work. I'm sick of kids these days being so lazy you can work go outside and turn the i phone you bought with your government check off. I work 40 hours a week for 8.50 an hour. So why is my standard of living lower than those not working? Why is there almost $200 being taken out of my bi-weekly checks by the government. And what is with this sudden mindset of throwing money (we don't have) at any and every problem?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  27. SuZ

    Of course the unemployed should be giving these benefits. Would you rather have these people starving on the streets. Just let them eat cake, eh! This is not Africa where people really do starve to death.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  28. jack kersbergen

    I thought it was unemployment insurance rathrer than benefits that I have been paying into all these years . What happened to all the premiums from the past low unemployment years? jker

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  29. Voter

    Did we complain when they took our taxes dollars the upkeep iraq and afganistan?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  30. Brad Ports

    Funny how we can find billons to give Pakistan and Israel and every other county in the world but not our unemployed. Maybe we should spend less for supporting other countries and take care of our own. Most people would gladly give up the unemployment benefits for a Job

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  31. george cashman

    the answer to your question is a no brainer

    Would you starve your family to death simply because you have a lot of credit card bills?

    the rule of life is ; survive first and worry about other things later.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  32. Jim McCormick

    Jack...how much money will we borrow between now and the end of November to protect the people of Iraq and Afganistan...the Republican gang of four think that that debt is Ok but helping the guy down the street is somehow fiscally irresponsible and you Jack...I used to like the way you spoke the truth...now you allow these make believe public servants get away with character assassination. This has nothing to do with the budget deficit but has everything to do with attacking everything President Obama does even if his actions are moral and forthright.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  33. KT-Ohio

    I don't know how much unemployment pays in other states, but in Ohio, it pays 50% of your wages and few dollars more if you have children, up to two. The maximum is $365 per week and about $40 more per child up to 2.

    Also, employer's pay a percentage of their payroll for unemployment insurance to the state and federal governement. In state it's called SUI (State Unemployment Insurance), Federal is FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act. ).

    I'd say it's already paid for!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  34. Steven M.


    Everyone that I know who is currently unemployed is looking for work. Networking among my friends has exploded, with friends submitting resumes for friends and communicating any job leads anyone can find. Those who say that paying unemployment benefits encourages people not to work have clearly never been on unemployment themselves, as the recipient has to show proof – as to interviews, names, and telephone numbers – that they have been actively seeking work just to get those benefits.

    We seem to have no problem paying for tax cuts that aren't paid for, wars that shouldn't be fought, and anything Republicans wanted for eight years – it seems to me we can help families and individuals who really need it.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  35. janette - Georgia

    Unemployment benefits should be limited to some kind of timetable based on how long one has been receiving them. I know able bodied people who have been "slopping from the trough" for 3 or 4 years and will not seek employment as long as they can sit at home and be paid by taxpayers. Many of us worked all our lives (45 to 50 years) and never received any kind of benefit even though we went through some tough times. We've got to send a message to these people that any job is a good job these days.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  36. Michael Armstrong Sr. Tx.

    Yes exstend the benefits our government is backwards instead of helping America survive there more interested in helping another country survive use that 7 billion dollars your sending to save Pakistan to save America .

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  37. Damion Bragdon

    How can the Republicans have no problem with bailing out Wall Street yet balk at helpng out the rest of us on main Street ....oh yeah that's right it's Corporate America that matters not the Average American....I'm certain this lesson will be remembered at the November Election.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  38. Chuck Bellamy

    the call for 'pay as you go' now is from the same republicans who will add untold billions of new unpaid earmarks in the next appropriations bill? the facts I saw a week ago about the debate of which does more for the economy: for every dollar of tax breaks to the wealthy, $0.32 goes into the economy because the wealthy don't spend that money, they invest it, but for every dollar of unemployment insurance paid to those without jobs, $1.67 goes into the economy as they spend it on necessities and help local businesses, etc. As Mark Twain wrote, "Get your fact straight first and then you can distort them".

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  39. Ron Frink

    Yes, but this must be the last time.

    Now let's talk about fiscal responsibility. The party of fiscal responsibility has never been the Republicans. Don't forget that 80+% of this country's debt to 2009 was under Republican presidents... mostly Reagan and Bush. The federal budget has only been balanced by 2 presidents in the past 50 years – JFK and Clinton, both Democrats, never a Republican.

    The party of fiscal responsibility has never been the GOP, they just want the American people to believe that. Perhaps the GOP should take a look at their own history and be honest... wouldn't that be a change!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  40. Bob

    Yes it should be passed,but I aggree it should not have been paid with the extra 33 Billion dollars added to our deficit. I just want to understand why we couldn't pay for it with the stimulis!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  41. Susan Holden

    Worcester, MA

    No, they have had up to 99 weeks to learn new skills where they can make at least part time pay. I never hear how they adapted to the jobs that ARE out there or entrepreneurial pursuits in order to pay their bills. What has happened to America that we have lost our drive to depend on oneself rather than the government?

    I'm all for short term help but almost two years and no adaptation to learn new skills?? No way!

    What about recent high school and college graduates that cannot get unemployment yet have to find something – often below their skill and/or educational level.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  42. Tim

    The sense of entitlements is growing in America. Gov't should be creating jobs instead of paying them not to work. However I think this is Obama's game plan, have the population depend on their government for handouts (entitlements)and therefore increase Obama's voting base. That is also why he makes sweetheart deals with huge labor unions.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  43. Denise

    Yes they should be extended. Millions of Americans are out of work because of the Bush/Republican policies and through no fault of their own. Is the Iraq or Afghanistan war paid for? Are the Bush tax-cuts to the wealthiest 1% paid for? How hypocritcal can the Republicans get?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  44. Christina Finnell

    Yes Jack! It is my understanding the democrats did offer a way to pay for it. That is to allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse in January. It never ceases to amaze me how the republicans tend to forget their spending habits with the former administration! Convienent amnesia!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  45. Frank N Cape Coral FL

    Well why would that not be an option, after all that money in part belongs to the unemployed Americans, if we have to add to the national deficit that's the right way to do it, but why would it be able to be paid for with a 10% reduction in the salaries of all the politicians in Washington voting not to extend the unemployment benefits. Pay up guys!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  46. Joy Vance

    I believe that the Bush tax cuts should end now. That will add much more to the deficits than unemployment compensation. I think unemployment benefits should be extended, and if necessary, there should be a compromise between adding to the deficit or getting the money from what was set aside in the stimulus bill. I don't believe you should let Americans hang for 7 weeks without benefits. It is very hard to find a job. I've been trying for 4.5 months. To those who think that the unemployed don't want to work: I hope you have to live on unemployment benefits (45% of my former earnings) and we'll see how hard you try to find a job. Most people are trying very hard to find a job and can't because of this "Great Recession". I challenge anyone to use my resume and find me a job within an hour commuting time from my home.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  47. sandra miller

    Yes, the benefits should continue. I've been out of work, on unemployment for about 2 months, and it isn't a cake walk. I had NO luxuries. I could pay my rent and utilities, with a little left to buy groceries. Thank Buddha I was able to find another job, otherwise i would have had to move in with a relative. What a squarehead idea that unemployment fosters laziness! Whheeeee! Isn't it fun not being able to support yourself!

    But I DO agree that the money train needs to stop. The corporate welfare money train....

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  48. Kathy

    We've got a way to pay for them, Jack. Every other american had to take a pay cut in this economy. Why can't congress. Make all of them take a pay cut and use that money to pay for extending the unemployment benefits.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  49. old shoe

    seems we can pay for 2 wars alright. you did not mention the fact that the Gop wants to extend the tax breaks for the rich. used to be the rich were the ones who invested in jobs here but now they are taking those jobs to China. time the tax breaks for the rich stopped until they bring those jobs back home.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  50. Ukrakmeup

    Should we fund 2 wars, pledge billions to foreign countries, give the Senate and Congress raises without anyway to pay for it ? we have been doing it for years.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  51. Janet Jackson-Gould

    Yes! Benefits should be extended. They help recipients spend at groceries, gas stations and other stores, providing a ripple effect through local economies. Cutting them off ends that and puts huge strains on food banks and other nonprofit aid agencies – as well as worsening the housing crisis.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  52. Star*

    Yes.. but the money should come from the unspent stimulus.
    We cannot afford any more borrowing.. we have too much debt now.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  53. maury

    Let the masters of the universe contribute to the maintenance of the society that is the venue of their mastery: they go down with the ship too if it sinks!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  54. Gary Damiano

    Jack..........it is ironic that the Republicans had no qualms about giving billinons to Wall Street with virtually no accountability and yet they now cringe at extending employment benefits to Americans who really need it.

    At the very least it is probably one of the most "efficient forms" of economic stimulus we can do given the fact that ihe money goes out into the consumer end of the econmy is immediately spent returnign it to the economy..

    As an aside...........It beats the hell out of giving additional monies to Pakistan.........which economically gets us nowhere. By the way........How are we paying for that ?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  55. terry campbell

    repealing bush's tax cuts for the wealthy will certainly pay for them. tax cuts for the wealthy didn't work for reagan and they didn't work for bush.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  56. Saint

    I agree, extend the benefits for those who are unemployed and reduce what is being spent on the Iraq and Afgan war that was started by the Bush Administration. They are wondering how to pay for the benefits but not once has anyone said how will they pay for a war that at this time has cost more than 1 trillion dollars to the budget. Whay are no republicans making any noise about that.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  57. Wt

    As someone who has had to ask for unemployment benefits in the last year or so I say that the notion that these benefits are a disincentive to seeking work is bogus. All these are designed to do is keep some food on the table during the unemployed period, they do not amount to enough to replace income. I am guessing that Kornyn and Kyl et al are ok with more people starving in the streets, but to me that shouldn't be the way we do things in the USA.
    A second point. If it is ok to stop asking the top 4 or 5 % of the wealthiest Americans to pay taxes so the nation can support otherwise unpaid for wars, then I guess it is ok to stop asking the lower 4 or 5 % of the poorest Americans to fight them.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  58. Robert Gleason

    Jack if we don’t act now things could get a lot worse. Americans don’t want handouts, they want their independence back. Millions of Americans don’t know where their next pay check will come from and that will only lead to an even higher crime rate, force Americans onto the street and drive the economy deeper into the hole. Jack the answer is new jobs and I don’t think either party has a clue on how to create them.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  59. Michael Shea Albuquerque,NM

    I would be much happier if we were handing out jobs rather then unemployment checks.

    However we aren't out of the "Depression" yet and citizens have to pay their bills and eat. This is a necessity so how we pay for it we'll have to figure it out later.

    I am hopeful that President Obama brings back the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's) and the Works Projects Association (WPA). These programs provide jobs to repair our infrastructure.

    I have another idea to provide jobs and low cost housing. Why don't we hire construction workers to repair base housing at old military installations and open these houses to poor and homeless families.

    Most of these homes were built in the forties and fifties and have been boarded up for years. the poor and the homeless could rent with option to buy.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  60. Jay Foster

    Absolutely not! Sooner or later it will be imperative that the pork barrel specialists in Washington wake-up to the fact that you should not be spending money (for any reason) that you don't have! Enough is enough - let's make that "wake-up time" now!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  61. Maureen in Alexandria VA (inside the Beltway)

    They are being paid for, by people who are working, and the Chinese, who the people who are working are really working for. Extend them without additional funding sources and the Chinese get more dollars.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  62. Eardley Ham, Woodbury, MN

    There are many reasons why we should not extend the benefits but one overriding reason that we should. The majority of the unemployed are unemployed because of the failed fiscal policies instituted by the previous Republican administration and congressional majority.

    It is proper to bail out billionaires but not the little folk who helped make them billionaires??

    Extend the benefits and raise taxes on every one with an annual income of over one million dollars (a 25% flat tax on the before tax, before deduction income would be about right).

    July 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  63. Stephan O

    How about we end those Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy a couple of years early and use all that money to pay for helping those struggling to find work?

    We need to continue focusing on getting our economy righted before tackling the deficit. Once we get people back to work and start growing again, the deficit will start moving back in the right direction.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  64. Bill Dillow

    I think extending unemployment benefits is a good idea. But I'm ashamed at how the republicans are against it. Didn't the republicans spend trillions of dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq without a single plan for paying for that debt ? If the republicans would help O'Bama pay for the republican debt , the country could help more of the needy in this country.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  65. stephane

    I think extending the benefits is necessary, however, you should prove that you are looking for work, if you can't prove it then your benefit should stop. I am lucky to still be employed, I have worked for 18 straight years with the same company (that had around 5000 people laid off in the last 8 years) but I do know people who are unemployed and not liking it but they can't find a job, or when they do its seasonal, temp or contracts. Let's not kick people when they are down, not every unemployed person is a lazy one!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  66. William

    I know of a few people who have been on unemployment for over a year and they have turned down jobs because they will not make much more than unemployment is paying them now. I believe the system is broke and that until its fixed I should not have to pay taxes to give anyone a free ride. Everyone makes choices and I know everyone needs help from time to time but a years worth of free money without having to take a job if its offered to you is BS. Make these people take any job they can get and then cover the difference but no more free rides!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  67. John from San Antonio

    There shouldn't even be a debate about it. It doesn't come anywhere close to what was doled out to the corporate executives in the name of stimulus, or the obscene amounts of money paid to corporations for services not performed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now when it comes to the people who have to pay these bills all of a sudden the funds have to be paid for. When will Americans quit listening to the drivel coming out of Washington?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  68. Frank N Cape Coral FL

    Well, why wouldn't that be an option, after all that money in part belongs to the unemployed Americans, if we have to add to the national deficit that's the right way to do it, it could be paid for with a 10% reduction in the salaries of all the politicians in Washington voting not to extend the unemployment benefits. Pay up guys!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  69. Mark

    There is no desire to reduce unemployment by this President. This regime is about growth of government and creating dependency. Run a poll of business owners and ask them if they are positive about the Government's direction and the long term impact on business. That will tell you why unemployment will not be going down.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  70. bill kirchner

    I think the President is right and we should extend the benefits, but the Rep have a point in that they should have been paid for, even though they came to this conclusion after President Obama came into office. Prior to that while they had a majority in the both houses for 6 of Bush's 8, they funded two wars and did pretty much as they wanted.

    To think that the people on unemployment want to stay there is just wrong minded. How did they qualify for benefits in the first place they had a job, paying unemployment taxes into the system for others to fall back on and now it is their turn.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  71. Richard, St Paul Mn

    At what point do unemployment benefits stop being unemployment benefits and start being welfare?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  72. David - Cleveland, OH

    People will put forth many reasons why the benefits should be extended, but the reality is that we cannot afford to do so. Congress could and should find an equal and offsetting reduction to pay for the extension. Our children and our grandchildren cannot be expected to pay for something that will have no impact on them. Our policy should be to pay as we go as it is yesterday's and today's generation that has allowed this to happen. Let's not penalize our future.

    The Obama Administration should be exerting every effort to provide jobs and an atmosphere that promotes them. Extracting every tax dollar to pay for entitlement programs will bring the downfall of the United States.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  73. Eric Lucas

    Have any of the idiots who are saying things like "The majority of the unemployed have no reason to go out and get a job..." ever tried to live on unemployment?? It is barely a subsistence wage that helps prevent people from starving, and perhaps keep from dying of exposure, and nothing more. The paltry amount of money, and the demeaning process for getting it, are plenty of incentive to get a job. Please walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you say something so stupid.

    As to the deficit issue....34 billion out of 13 trillion is less than 1/3 of 1%. That amount of money will not make bit of difference in the end. There are lots of far more expensive irresponsible spending projects supported by both parties. Let the Republicans be the ones to take the moral high ground and give up their pet projects first, if they think it is so important. Since I don't see them rushing to do this, I have to conclude that their main purpose in stonewalling unemployment is to make Obama look bad. To paraphrase Michael Douglas in "The American President", they are too busy trying to keep their jobs, while neglecting to actually *do* their jobs.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  74. Kea from Honolulu

    Jack, I do believe that everything spent should be paid for. However, there are times of emergency that call for quick action. Helping our fellow Americans in the short term is one such time. Key word here is "short term". If these benefits keep getting extended, it turns into welfare.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  75. John Schilling, Chambersburg, PA

    The Democrats obviously think so. Just print more money and ask China to add to their already substantial investment in our country.
    Seriously, when is this out-of-control spending going to end. I also have to question whether extending the unemployment benefits will simply result in the applicants not looking for work. Why should they when their government checks are close to or more than their take-home pay after taxes.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  76. ama

    Yes, unemployement benefits should be extended, the government have the money to pay for a unless war. There are hard working people who wants to work but the job market out there is just "terrible."

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  77. Luis @ Purdue

    Nice loaded question Jack.
    You know the people need this. You know who's stoping it. You know what it means. Politicians have to work together. The majority of the Republicans have come out and claimed they will always oppose Obama. This brings up a certain situation. Are Republicans even listening to what the President is saying? Do they even try to work right now that they are "powerless"? I don't think so. They whole time the Democrats or Obama speaks they are simply licking their lips ready to scream no. We don't need those kind of people in power. November 2010 – get rid of the members of the said "Party of No."

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  78. JIM

    Obama should extend the benefits and raise taxes on the. He can also blame the employment situation on George W Bush. He is good at that

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  79. arduck

    So its okay to extend tax cuts for the well to do, and not worry about its impact to the deficit. But its okay to deny unemployment benefits to the working class because it impact the deficit.

    One does not need it to get by, but gets a pass. The other needs it, but gets denied.


    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  80. Bernadette Capossela

    Yes, I do believe the unemployment benefits should be extended. I say we cut the tax breaks for the oil companies receive as well as cutting the breaks for the wealthy...then the unemployment can be paid for, probably 3 times over (that is a modest estimate).

    Eric Wasek...you are very uninformed. I hope you are thankful for the job you have and I hope you never have to collect $265 per week ro pay your mortgage and feed your family...oh and lets not forget the utilities. You remind me of my father in law....lots of crap to talk and not a leg to stand on.

    Sure all those "lazy unemployed" want to kick back and collect 1/4 of what we are worth all in the name of sticking it to the republicans...yeah, that's it. People have PAID INTO THIS SYSTEM, as well as employers. Some have worked 25+ years without EVER making a claim until now and you want to throw stones and call them lazy. Are you your your name isn't Joe?

    Tucson, AZ

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  81. Demarc

    I find it amazing that everyone who whines about the republicans spending before conveniently forgets about that pay-go law democrats passed. There aree hundreds or thousands of "earmarks" out there, pork, that could be cut for finance this.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  82. Joshua

    Calling people hypocrites for something last term doesn't make it OK now. GOP makes an effort to balance the budget, and Obama is blaming them for that? It seems like a practical step to achieve real change. Any president will extend employment benefits.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  83. wm in Texas


    Are you and your viewers crazy.

    We have the money!

    Want to save money stop the wars.

    Want to stop the wars suggest raising taxes to pay for the wars and really support our troops and stop using Chinese loans to pay the war profiteers.

    Want to save more money decriminalize drugs. Shut the DEA, save Mexico, end the cash income of war lords and African terrorists.

    There are many ways to save money and balance the budget. Stop taxpayer billions going to Wall Street etc.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  84. Yuh-hwang Tsao

    Let's extend the unemployment benefit. What the Republicans really want is to use the money for extending the tax cut for the rich next year. Have they found a way to pay for that tax cut? No, I have not heard where is the money to pay for that tax cut. The choice is to spend money to extend the unemployment or tax cut for the rich.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  85. Mike Rich

    Unemployment should be extended even if it adds to the deficit. We can deal with the deficit when the Economy improves in a year or two. What should be done to pay for the extension of benefits, is to ground NASA, bring the troops home, end Bush tax cuts, and tax lottery tickets, Alcohol and Tobacco by $1.00, and should have a $10.00 tax at all Casinos, and cut the Senators pay 10%, and have a $1.00 gas tax, which alone, would raise $140 billion, and tax Gas guzzlers $2,000.00, and tax the Social Security benefits of the wealthy, and tax Billionaires 50%.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  86. Jacob Mathews


    I really dont understand why the republicans were not raising noise when bush went to war in Iraq and Afganisthan. How much did it cost? Did it add to the deficit? What did it do to the country ? Did it help the nation in any way? Security around the world is the same. I feel that Republicans is party of the filthy rich and they have been getting kickback to support their cause. Give the tax break to Filthy rich even if it adds to the deficit. What a great idea.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  87. Geno

    You know, Republicans spend just as money as Democrats, but they just feel bad about it

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  88. Arnold MI

    With 3.7 million people loosing their benefits this month, we will loose over a billion dollars a week in consumer spending. This will lead to more layoffs and more unemployed. I think it is time for the illiterate Republican Party to hit the road!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  89. Angie

    I don't have a problem with extending the benefits, I just think that the government needs to make some cuts somewhere else to pay for them. This administration needs to stop spending money, do they think they own the money machine? Oh wait, yes, they do.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  90. naqibham

    On top of that we should give each American family 10 million dollars.
    We all could use it... so what's the problem...

    oh yea..

    Why is this so hard for people to grasp... You can't spend what you don't have... you can to a point on credit I suppose (if you are stupid)... but hey... both parties have already done that well past sensible.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  91. Michael - Portage

    The whole "Gee, what about the deficit" arguement is nothing more than a policical red herring. First of all, the amount that these benefit extensions impact the overall deficit is exceedingly small....some would argue not much more than a rounding error. Where was all of this concern over the deficit between 2000 and 2008 when the Bush administration turned the "Clinton surplus" into the "Bush deficit?" They wages a trillion-dollar "war on terrorism" with money borrowed from China!!!

    Compare the benefits spending to all the defense weaponry systems that the Pentagon says they don't need but Congress keeps putting in the budget (pork), the amount of money we've spent putting people in Iraq and Afganistan to work, etc.

    It's nuts. The least these two-faced policitians could do is take care of Americans first.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  92. Joan

    Yes, it is already late getting to the people that are desperate for that help. How can anyone accept the fact that little kids will go to bed hungry, also. when a family is without income the first thing to go – is the family pet, that is evident now, the animal shelters are bursting at the seams. The republicans don"t care about the people, they only care about the rich.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  93. Eliz S

    Yes- extend Unemployment INSURANCE benefits.. . for however long it takes to turns this inherited Rebublican economic disaster around.

    "Here we go again,,,," The Repubs want to give bailouts and huge tax breaks to the rich ( Corporate America, Big Banks, Wall Street...etc.) all of which add to the def, not to mention two unpaid for wars...but screw the middle class unemployed through no fault of their own! Thanks for the support! We will remember the Repubs at the polls!!!!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  94. stephen

    I am one of those 2.5 Million Americans who lost benefits while the Senate debated this latest measure. At the end of the day however, I am in agreement with the Republican caucus that this extension needs to be paid for. I worry that even when I do find a new job that the same type of fiscal irresponsibility from wall street displayed that got us into this mess is now being displayed on an even larger scale by our own government. I am all for social programs that help those who are less fortunate, but there should always be a way to pay for it wether it is cuts in other areas or higher taxs..

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  95. Sandi from Arizona

    Hey! It doesn't take a math major to understand that if you don't extend unemployment benefits to those who need it, you just keep the cycle going. With no unemployment benefits those unemployed couldn't pay for goods or services, which means less going into the economy which means more lay offs due to a down turn in businesses, which means more unemployed and less able to spend, which means more lay offs due to a down turn in business.

    The Republicans don't get that because they are too buzy giving away money in the form of tax cuts for the wealthy so they can repeat the past and have the wealthy create jobs they can ship overseas to make their business more profitable and themselves more wealthy leaving their countrymen to try and find what few jobs are left.

    It's a tough time, and maybe unemployment benefits are not the best move, but at least it takes care of middle class americans.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  96. James Torres

    I say YES, we need to cut the budget to fine the 32 Billion for the unemployed. But what’s confusing is why we didn’t take the same approach when giving the wealthiest American a tax break or paying for two wars. The wealthiest Americans did’nt create any jobs with the existing tax cut so let’s cut unemployment benefits. Where is Mel Gibson when you need him?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  97. james

    YES!!! Jack, I'm one of the millions glued to the t.v. to see if I'm going to have a roof over my head this month.I don't know how it is in other parts of the country, but down here in Bristol Virginia there are NO jobs.It wouldn't break my heart to see ALL republicans voted out this September!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  98. sherm64

    Hey Jack first let's put the senate and congress on unemployment benefits for a year, and see if they can pay their rent, buy food for a family of four, make the car note, prepare their children for another school year, pay the electric bill, and oh! what about gas to get to all those jobs that are out there to apply for. And as far as Sen Reid is concerned, lets not stop at drug testing before you can receive unemployment: lets limit what you can and can't buy for food ie unemployment benefits can only purchase hambuger, no steak here!
    maybe Mom and Dad could afford a summer trip last year, well not this year, but because mom and dad are recieving unemployment now, no movie rental, absolutlely nothing to make your family feel a little less, well, unemployed. WE ARE NOT UNEMPLOYED BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE! But we thought that thats what part of our earnings were going to UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. don't group us with those who have abuse the the welfare system for a long time. and before anyone says so, trust me the welfare system has been abused by EVERY ETHNICITY!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  99. George

    Yes Jack, we should help the unemployed since there are no jobs. Either give them a job, or unemployment benefits. Pay as we go should be applied to pet projects and pork and not when it comes to helping the unemployed. Would you put the question to people who have jobs and ask them what they would say if they were the ones with out a job?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  100. P Swain

    Wars ,, wars .. wars.
    We spend money on war (1 trillion) so far and continue to spend on Afghanistan and Pakistan,
    How can someone support war without paying for them.. and why is the same policy not applicable to war.
    When it comes to spending everything should be accounted for.

    Stop spending on war and spend wisely here.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  101. Al from Iowa


    The public is tired of politicians pushing more and more debt on the future generations of Americans. We must get back to a balanced budget or Greece will be a sign of things to come.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  102. Bert in Wa

    Yes they should offset the cost of the bill with cuts, but how much do you want to bet that if the cuts are made it will be aimed at the tax payers making less than $250,000 a year and not at the low life in the senate or congress or their rich constituants.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  103. Allen, Texas

    Yes, I would like to have the unemployment benefit extended and paid for, but given the economic circumstances we find ourselves where our government is broke, the best thing we could do is borrow the money to help our unemployed to get through this tough economic times. The Republicans made sure that the government is broke so that we start getting rid of the social safety net programs which they've never liked anyway. The only reason they are now requesting for it to be paid for is 1. To make sure that the administration spend the remaining stimulus money on something other stimulus projects,and 2. To be obstructive so that if the economy does not grow, they can pile on the Obama blame machine.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  104. zak

    where are the republicans when this goverment offers 7.5 billion in aid to Pakistan isn't that feeding our deficit no wait a minute the defense contractors get a big piece of that pie and republicans dont want to mess with their bread and butter the defense contractors and the gun lobby.
    its OK to give 7.5 billion to a beggar that has financed killing Americans through terrorist but its not OK to give the same Americans unemployment benefits without having to come up a way to pay them whose side are the republicans on our or the terrorist.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  105. Gigi Oregon

    I'm disgusted with the Republican party we are in debt because of them. We have a responsibility to cover unemployment because of the damage the Republicans did while in office shame on them. They ran us into debt, what kind of people are they....

    July 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  106. Dennis from Columbus

    Remember that the reason these folks are unemployed in the first place is because we are just coming out of a deep recession. Raising taxes and decreasing spending are both bad until the economy improves and both probably necessary after it does. The decreased spending that the Republicans proposed to pay for this involved reducing stimulus funds going specifically to job creation. I don't see the logic in that.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  107. Loren, Chicago

    No, there is more than enough fat in this budget to pay for them, what is lacking is the will. As is becoming clearer and clearer, this Congress is only willing to make choices that appeal to the baser instincts of voters, or benefit their campaign contributors and special interest groups. My view: Vote Them All Out.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  108. Chuck from Inglewood

    The people whom you are asking for their unemployment benefits to be extended have already paid for it while they were working. I believe that is what social security contributions is for. It is ironic that the shameless Republicans want a continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, beyond Dec. 2010, which has grossly contributed to the growth of the nations Deficit, in exchange for an extention of unemployment benefits. The fact remains that these same people's money was used to bail out banks and financial institutions during the recession. These banks are now turning out record profits, but are neither hiring nor lending money to these people. Profits should create job opportunities. Jobs reduce unemployment. My guess is that these Republican leaning companies are deliberately witholding hiring so that this adminstration led by a black president may not succeed. Guess what? Americans are no fools as the Republicans may think. Hold the Republicans and Big business responsible for unemployment and not the Obama administration, as the admin has done all it can to enable Big Business start employing.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  109. PS in LA

    It's fascinating how the crackpot conservatives in the US have decided that extending unemployment benefits is bad for us (heaven forbid the victims of the Republican policies should get any help) but giving the rich huge tax breaks, which costs our economy far more, is somehow good for us. What is wrong with these people? And where were they when the Reagan and the Bushes were running deficits into the sky? Why do we even listen to these people? If we had listened to conservatives throughout our history, there would still be slavery, we'd still be English subjects, and women would never have any rights.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  110. Robert Cooke

    Hell, as long as we can print money, send the unemployed some.
    In about 3 years, you will have to take a bushel basket of dollar bills to buy a loaf of bread! Maybe by them the Afghans and the Iraqis
    can help us rebuild our economy since we will be insolvent.
    I am 62 years old and I have never seen the level of insanity being
    exhibited in Washington DC by the political parties charged with
    running this country.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  111. kenneth

    I'm lost; because I thought this was insurance benefit from funds paid by employers. Besides, it took mismanagement over two years to get so many people unemployed. It's a shame that the gop would make such a ridiculous assumption, people will sit around and draw unemployment and not look for a job. When people stupid assumptions, they generally have a hidden agenda. Their closet is filled with tax cuts for the less needy (greedy).

    July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  112. John H

    Our great experiment with Democracy is just about over. With both parties' philosophy of giving the voters what they want, not what they need, its only a short matter of time until we are bankrupt. I think all Representatives and Senators should receive "A Tale of Two Cities" as a harbinger of things to come – I estimate 10 -12 years before extensive violence will necessitate the calling out of the Guard to protect these same politicians who are neglecting the terrible plight of the United States. Good Luck! The experiment lasted all of 200 plus years.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  113. The Observer

    Yes, the benefits should be extended. These are regular Americans struggling. Of course there are the "unfixable" credit addicts amongst them. But the majority are regular people that got caught up in the game THE GOVERNMENT created by persuading banks to lend to ANYONE. It is the government's fault we are here. They cause taxes to be high chasing jobs – and income – out of the country.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  114. Bobby

    Bush was a wreckless spender. Obama promised change. He is a more wreckless spender. There is almost a half-billion dollars in stimilus money left. Why not use some of it for unemployment? As an independent, I truly thought Obama was going to be different. Shame on me. He is worse. He accepts responsibility for nothing and blames the other party for everything even though his party is clearly a majority and in charge. Stop blaming and start doing!!!

    Pinson, Alabama

    July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  115. Holger Jensen

    How anyone can vote for Republicans after their dismal performance on the economy (turning a surplus into a deficit), their advocacy of tax cuts for the rich while denying unemployment benefits to the poor, their apologies to BP for polluting our Gulf, their opposition to Wall Street regulation, their outsourcing of critical intelligence gathering and their general disregard for the common man defies belief. I am one independent who will never again vote for the Grand Old Party of Elderly White Millionaire Males who have no clue about solving the problems this country faces - the biggest problem being themselves.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  116. Allen, Texas

    Jack, you have to spend money to make money.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  117. mary costello

    People need to eat, they have families; I bet you would be the first in line to get benefits from the government if you lost your job.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  118. hillcrester

    Yes–There is a pressing need, right now, to help the unemployed and the economy. The deficit may eventually fall to our grandchildren (as the GOPhers say) if we go on forever without reducing it, but first let's keep those grandchildren alive and well in the present time.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  119. jack K Denver

    I thought it was unemployment INSURANCE rather than BENEFITS that I have been paying into all these years . What happened to all the premiums from the past low unemployment years? Me thinks someone has been in the cookie jar. Both Democrats and Republicans. Maybe if we had let a too big to fail insurance company run the entire FUI SUI system, they would have at least made money.
    Oh, I forgot they don't like to pay out on their policies.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  120. Marc Lichtenstein

    The debt is $13 trillion. Will another $34 billion really matter? It will matter to the people who are unemployed. The only way to really lower the deficit is by ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  121. Loren, San Francisco Bay Area CA

    Yes. Money given to these people will go right back into the economy, as they pay rent, groceries, etc.

    Where were the "deficit hawks" of the Republican Party when George W. Bush was running up trillion-dollar deficits to finance his wars and tax cuts? Some of them should have the opportunity to understand firsthand what it means to be unemployed. Soon.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  122. Jesse

    I can't believe this is even a question. Look: In the hypothetical scenario that all 300 million Americans pay taxes at the same rate, $33B over the next 6 months equates to roughly $18 per month for each of us. You spend more than that every week on lattes. Everyone needs to pull their supposedly Christian heads out of their *sses and do what's right for society. For God's sake, even if only 1 of every 10 people on unemployment deserves to be, then I will gladly cover the cost with my tax dollars to help that 1 person. As we all know: those crying the loudest for benefits to not be extended would be the first to start wailing for theirs if they lost their job tomorrow.

    Jesse from Colorado

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  123. Robert

    Of course, extend unemployment benefits, even if there are a few that cheat the system. These people have to spend it on groceries, they are not wealthy and can squirrel it away, they need it all, it's only a meager subsidy anyway, so the money comes right back in the system. Like so many have said, the previous administration did not bother a minute how to pay for these unnecessary wars, so get our military out of Iraq and Afghanistan asap, rather tomorrow than next week as we're not achieving anything there, only losing lives and money, for what?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  124. Atul C.

    The best way to pay for this by playing golf, ask our President. He never leaves an opportunity to go further left. He had promised to work from the center. I what he meant was to bring republicans to center so it will be easier for him to work. He has yet to show that he can bring two sides on one table.

    This was a serious issue, he could have easily taken money out of the stimulus left over money. But he likes to spend, spend, spend.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  125. bill in NC

    Well Jack, after all the free trade deals done in the last 20 years and letting 14 plus million jobs leave the country it's the least the USA could do for all the folks they .....! Maybie the goverment should really look at the possibility of doing an offshore labor tax. After all we did all these so called free trade agreements so our companys could compeat in the global market(i.e. make the stuff here and ship it over there to a free market for us) but instead it turned into bigcorp bannaza to the point where CEO's made a killing by off taking the jobs out of the country. We all know that this is not right and we must put penities in place to sucure our jobs.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  126. M Green

    I recall years ago when the issue about deficits was raised and the Republican mantra was that "deficits don't matter." I recall George Will being one of those voices. Did they finally see the light?

    Isn't it also ironic that Congress has no problem accepting their annual cost of living increases but are worried about providing funds to the unemployed? What a great gesture it would be if they would take a salary cut to provide savings to the government! Perhaps the savings could be applied to a jobs program.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  127. moe

    Why ask the question. You guys have jobs. The very people that we depend on to keep our economy going dont We should be helping these pleople out what ever way we can there should not be a debate. Why do we have to keep this going every few months. These benefits should be relaxed for at least a year. Who wants to be on unemployment. You get no raise (my employer froze ours) and you have to pay big cobra for ours all those that held up these benefits shame on you. I want your job

    July 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  128. fishingal

    Lesser of evils? Watch the un employed flounder and starve or balance the budget? Times are tough everywhere in the US. Let the Republican naysayers take a pay cut and stop all the jaunts and whatever? Talk is cheap! Lead or get out of the way?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  129. LordPet

    What's the alternative? There aren't enough people hiring. But if the Republicans are really that worried about the $34 billion, they can take it from the $900 billion defense budget.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  130. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    I'm a moderate Republican Jack. Which means I am very liberal on the social issues and very conservative on the fiscal issues. Is not helping those in need being socially responsible? Is going way more into an abysmal debt being fiscally responsible? I gotta go with the dollars on this one Jack. Sorry for those in need, but we must stop this spending madness.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  131. Michael

    Fiscal sanity is important. It is an incredibly difficult time to try and balance the annual deficit but we should certainly do everything in our power to do so.

    That being said, I don't believe we should leave millions of Americans unable to survive when we are spending incredible amounts of money propping up foreign governments all over the world, subsidizing corporate America, etc. The Democrats, as an example, should put all corporate subsidies on the line to appease the Republicans. It is a matter of choice as to where we spend our money and it seems clear to me that "Mainstreet Joe" should take precedence over corporate subsidies.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  132. Justin

    The US leads the world in defense spending, and we have people in our own country going hungry. We can reduce our defense spending by 2/3 and still be in the top 5 countries in spending. We are giving more love to Iraq and Afghanistan than our own country. Absolutely ridiculous!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  133. R

    It's a double edge sword Jack. I know people who are taking jobs at places like McDonald s because that is all that is available. I know passing this unemployment extension will add to the deficit but what will happen if it is not? Did the American people think that by electing Obama that things would change over night? He was the first to stand and say this recovery would be long and hard. I hope that the people that are against it feel secure in their jobs or they will be there next in line for unemployment. Just something to think about for you people out there slamming the unemployed..

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  134. claire

    What about us,working class. There is any appriciation for us. Working 9 hours every day , I'm getting the same amount of many as the unemployed people and no health insurance. Is this the right way to treat us?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  135. Bill, Bloomington Il

    There are jobs available if you ask the United Farm Workers Association.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  136. susan

    So Jack – what is your solution, and the Republicans solution – for the unemployed, and their children to go live on the street?!

    Is that what YOU, and the Republicans wants Jack – to see your fellow Americans living on the street, because their own government , refused to help them! I bet that would make you happy! Seeing American citizens living on the sidewalks, rummaging in garbage cans for food to feed themselves, and their children!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  137. Lindsay

    Aboslutely not. Most of the people who seek this extension have been collecting unemployment for a year and half already! They are either not willing to lower themselves to obtain a job or are mentally unstable and not hireable to begin with. As a realtor, one of the heardest hit professions, I was not elligible for any unemployment. When times got tough I was forced to find a job as fast as I could and I did within 3 months. I think if the unemployed were forced to find a job we would be amazed of how people would find them.
    One of my best friends worked at her job for just at a year when let go. 18 months has now passed and she is still collecting unemployment and using the unemployment money simply as a crutch while finding cash paying jobs, so she is making even more than she was with a real job! She is the one that buys me drinks now when we go out. She is my best friend and I am disgusted of the way she is taking advantage of the system! Cut them off!

    Scottsdale, AZ

    July 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  138. DRS

    Yes, they should, and they should downsize their insurance policy, and their retirement that we all pay for, and that should be done to every single goverment burocrasy in the whole USA.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  139. astoria

    people need some sort of benefits until they find work. the country has to start creating jobs. I am so luck I just find work. I was so unhappy and depressed for 4 months, unable to find work. I just got work now and I am so thankful and happy. but i was struggling to look for work for 4 months now. I am so lucky I found something. but people need support until they find work.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  140. Sharon

    One of the lamest remarks here was telling someone to go out and get a job and if you can't find one, join the military! Huh? The military will not take a 45 year old! It really bothers me that so many consider that the unemployed are lazy! Look at the unemployment rates; look at the layoffs! Employers are not hiring!

    Extending benefits keeps people spending, not to mention the fact that the can then feed, house and clothe their families....minimally!
    Americans need to gain some empathy!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  141. james

    Jack, I guess I'm just not wealthy enough for the republicans to care about me.Of course they should help poor working people who can't find a job.The republicans need to be in the unemployment line this November!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  142. Bryan

    Rather than extend unemployment benefits, why not suspend payroll taxes? As a small business owner, this would probably allow me to increase my staff by 1-2 people – a 10% increase. History has proven that if you want less of something, then tax it – so why are we taxing employment?

    Unfortunately, the government doesn't want business owners directly paying employees. They would rather serve as middleman, distribute money as they see fit, and have the people beholden to them.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  143. zeke

    These people did not quit their jobs. They wanted to stay employed and support their family. Most of them have worked for years without collecting unemployment. The least that could be done for them is extend unemployment. If for no other reason, just to give them a little more time to find work. If we can`t take care of our own, then why are we here?

    July 20, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  144. ramiro

    when is Pres Obama going to stop spending
    enough is enough

    July 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  145. John

    Thank you Republicans for reminding everyone why we threw you out with such vigor in the last elections!

    Once again the Republicans put dishonest, disengenuous political games before the people of the Unitied States.

    Pay for it with the Bush tax cuts, that's over 100 times more money and not a cent of that is paid for. The Republicans are dangerous and out of touch with the people. This is just one of many things that proves it. They have no shame and will say or do anything to get elected to control a government they do not believe in and people they clearly do not care about.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  146. steffan in Wellington New Zealand

    I remember when George W. mocked John Kerry when he said the war in Iraq would cost more than 180 billion. Where were the Republicans when they thought war was cheap. Cut the amount from the rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan needed to help feed unemployed Americans or don't extend the tax cuts for the wealthy.
    Let's see if the rich actually decide to leave the country or stay and pay.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  147. Addie

    O.k. so if the unemployment extension doesn't pass how are people suppose to survive? People who are unemployed and now jobless through no fault of their not only deserve their unemployment benefits but it is needed as means of survival. By not extending the unemployment benefits will only make the economy worse.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  148. Rigo Colon

    Yes, I think this is the right thing to do to help people until they can find a job. United States will always be there. I don't know
    why these Republicans are worried so much about the future. They should be worried about people who are now out of work, money and cannot provide for their family. The future generation will take care of business just like this generation is taking care of business now. If the republicans want to protect the future of the kids is they can by helping the parents now who are out of work. The kids of today need help now.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  149. Jason

    If Republicans can sink trillions and trillions into Iraq and Afghanistan and cut taxes at the same time.... then I don't want to hear a peep about Democrats spending money and letting taxes expire while trying to help AMERICANS! Our debt is a crisis, but the last "big spending" Democrat in the White House actually found a way to have a budget surplus, and what happened next? Oh yeah, the Drunken Sailors came ashore.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  150. Arlene

    I answer your question with this question, how come no body in power asked or asks that question about the 2 wars that are bleeding us dry huh? If someone had requested the war be fully funded before it started, would we be trillions of dollars in debt? No, we would not.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  151. John J

    YES! Unemployment benefits are cheapest form of economic stimulus there is. But the Repiglicans are being too cute by half by saying "no" to everything. Maybe the electorate will catch on and say "NO" to them in November because their antics aren't helping America fix our problems. It's really hypcoritical for the repiglicans to be fiscally responsible now when they spent like drunken sailors during the Bush years – two wars not paid for, Medicare part D-not paid for, Bush tax cuts- not paid for. Do we see a pattern here? The repiglicans should be ran out of town on a rail. I hope America is too smart for their hypocrisy and fraudulent behavior.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  152. Tangie

    I have to say that yes, those benefits should be paid for, but, for the millions that aren't working and can't work, those benefits should be extended. People that can't work, like my mom, for example, should be given unemployment and yes those benefits need to be paid for, but, the ones that should be paying for those benefits are the ones that got a lot of the Bush presidency tax cuts, and helping out the ones that are less fortunate. The wealthy in this country got those tax breaks and now it is time for them to pay more taxes and help out those that can't help themselves. Most of the people that are getting those unemployment benefits are people that without them, would lose their homes and their lives, so the people that have more should give more to help out those that don't have anything at this time of need.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  153. Jeff In Minnesota

    Talk about caught between a rock and a hard place. People are out of work because wall street was greedy. Let wall street pay for everything.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  154. james

    Why are the republicans always so quick to stop help for the working class but always want to help the wealthy with tax cuts.Of course we should extend benefits. Then we should see to it that republicans are filing for it in November!

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  155. robert hunter

    End the "terror wars" and pay Americans benefita.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  156. JOHN

    A much bigger question is how are we going to provide jobs to returning Vets. There are only so many Law enforcement jobs opening. Most people out of work and over 40 will NEVER get another job unless they retrain. With all the retirees, Health care should boom in 5 years.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  157. Chris from PA

    We are small business owners who have been compelled to layoff over half of our workforce over the last two and a half years, partially because of the economic downturn and partially because of reduced demand for our product. I think unemployment benefits should be extended, as well as the 65% COBRA subsidy for people that have been laid off. Re-training programs to help unemployed workers move into more promising fields should also be available.

    Saying that all unemployed people would be "discouraged from looking for work" by extension of benefits is akin to the view that everyone who collected AFDC was a Cadillac-driving, high-living welfare queen. Eliminate the Bush tax cuts that took us from a surplus to a yawning pit of a deficit. Though it means I personally would pay higher taxes, it's the right thing to do.

    July 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  158. Steve

    There is a way, however there is no will to do so...The Bush tax cuts would cover this dozens of times over.Mid term election posturing is choking the life out of your country...Period

    July 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  159. Gladys

    After all the American people have gone through, lost jobs, scamed & lied to "wall street" foreclosures , paying for wars that don't make sense, and 8 years of tax cuts for the rich so they get richer. I think the hard workers and those that have lost everything, should be entitled. When will we understand that The republicans don't care if were the dieing patient they want to pull the plug on all of us even though they see that we need help. All we ask is for is a effort not just to sit and point fingers and watch people suffer over mess. Wake up America

    July 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm |