Confirmed: Administration playing games on issue of unemployment benefits extension

CBS News’ Mark Knoller reports on how both the administration and Democrats in Congress have shamelessly used the issue of the unemployment benefits extension in an attempt at political gain during an election year:

In signing the bill restoring unemployment benefits to 2 million Americans jobless for more than 26 weeks, President Obama is also adding $34 billion to the deficit and the National Debt.

That’s the reason nearly all Republicans voted against the measure. They wanted the cost of the benefits paid for with unspent government funds or by other budget cuts.

The White House dismissed GOP concerns as partisan game-playing.

In two speeches over the last week, Mr. Obama argued that in the past, presidents and Congresses of both parties have treated unemployment insurance for what it is: an emergency expenditure.

“Suddenly, Republican leaders want to change that,” he said.

He portrayed Republicans as hypocrites for demanding that jobless benefits be paid for but not applying the same standard to their call for an extension of Bush Administration tax cuts that will expire this year.

“So after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, they’ve finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed,” the president said last Saturday in his radio/internet address.

But Republicans were quick to remind Mr. Obama what he said after signing a previous extension of unemployment benefits on November 6th of last year.

“Now, it’s important to note that the bill I signed will not add to our deficit. It is fully paid for, and so it is fiscally responsible,” he said.

So eight months ago, he said paying for the benefits was the right thing to do, but now he sees no need to do so.

Asked about the contradiction, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he needed to examine what Mr. Obama said last November and would get back to this reporter. He didn’t.

About par for the course for the administration’s Minister of Disinformation.

This makes how many times Obama and Dem “leaders” in Congress have done a complete 180 on an issue? I’ve lost count.

I have two close family members who are unemployed, one of them for over a year now (the job market here in the Charlotte area sucks and it’s been very hard to find full time work that would pay enough just to make the ends meet). She watched the latest round of push and pull on this issue, and called me a couple of days ago about it, very upset. She wondered why Congress was “playing games” when the ability to put food on the table and pay the rent for millions was at stake. I suspected by “Congress playing games” she was talking about Republicans, because that’s the way most media outlets have spun the standoff. I tried to patiently explain to her that the “game playing” had to do with how to fund the extension, and that it was the majority party who refused to do what it did last year in paying for the extension without adding to the deficit. I don’t really think it computed. As principled as she is, it’s understandably frightening to think about the possibility that you are going to get “cut off” from basic essentials.

Unemployment lineWhich is how I suspect it is for a lot of people on the unemployment rolls right now who have had a difficult time finding full time work at a time when this administration makes it tougher for businesses small and large to invest and subsequently hire thanks to the left’s oppressive anti-business taxes/measures, etc. I can’t tell you how many vendors I’ve talked to and articles I’ve read about how companies that DO have money are holding on to it rather than investing it right now because they don’t know what this administration is going to do next.

So we have a situation here where you’ve got a LOT of unemployed people who really want to find work and to be able to obtain health benefits when they do find that work, and then we have a very business-unfriendly administration that not only has set it up to where businesses are reluctant to invest in this climate but have made it so that many companies already in operation are going to have to scale down their health benefits packages in order to save money and make them affordable for employees, in the process giving the employees less choice in terms of doctors and care options. AND on top of that, you have a Democrat-controllled Congress playing political games on extending unemployment benefits to the millions of Americans who are unemployed, most of whom could probably find something that would at least be enough to put food on the table and pay the bills if this administration weren’t so damned hostile to “the rich” (read: ANYONE with money who starts a business, or who wants to).


Cross-posted to Right Wing News.

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