Unemployed Held Hostage by the GOP

The Unemployed in America are again becoming just another victim of the GOP’s relentless pursuit at blocking progress in America. I know, hard to believe since they’re normally such an agreeable bunch, but its true.

Democrats have introduced a bill that would extend unemployment insurance by up to an additional 14 weeks in all 50 states, with another six weeks for states with a jobless rate above 8.5 percent. It is an improvement on a bill passed by the House, which would extend benefits only in states with unemployment above 8.5 percent. But hey at least the House took some action.

But this just doesn’t sit well with the GOP. They don’t see what the rush is. Unemployment’s only at 10.3 percent for crying out loud, so what’s the hurry?

While Democrats have introduced legislation that would pay for the additional benefits by extending a 0.2% surtax in addition to the 6% tax already charged to employers on the federal unemployment tax they pay each year. Democrats believe that this would raise $2.6 billion dollars, which is $200 million more than the $2.4 billion price tag of extended unemployment benefits.unemp

But the GOP says they need more time since of course they once again believe they have a better idea. At least they’re hoping their idea of using unspent funds from the $787 billion economic stimulus plan to cover extended benefits.

While some are claiming this just adds to an employer’s burden, Robert Bixby executive director at Concord Coalition, a non-partisan group that advocates for reducing government deficits, said the added stimulus to the economy from an extension of the unemployment benefits outweighs the damage from a continuation of the surtax on employers.

The surtax, Bixby said, has been routinely extended by lawmakers for several years, and is likely “baked-in costs” as far as employers are concerned.

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