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.
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.
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.
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."