Remember when we were discussing Congress' failure to extend longer term unemployment benefits yesterday? Apparently, a rather late Holiday Miracle happened afterwards. The Senate approved cloture this morning on a bill authorizing a 3-month extension. 6 other Republicans joined Senator Dean Heller (R) in voting for cloture.
The bill itself will likely pass the Senate soon, and then... Oh, wait. That's right. It then heads to the House. F**k.
Already, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Shake & Bake) has threatened to kill the unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill if it doesn't contain sufficient austerity to offset the stimulative effects of letting down-on-their-luck Americans stay in their homes and buy groceries. And he may have said this while standing behind the same old #4jobs adorned backdrop that House Republican "leaders" like to use for their press conferences. Remember when Republican "leaders" claimed their mission was #4jobs? Whatever happened to that?
Keep in mind that extending unemployment benefits not only keeps millions of people out of poverty, but it also benefits the economy by providing a lifeline to people in need (see above). If the UI extension is not restored, expect 0.2% to 0.4% to be shaved off GDP growth this year. That also means a loss of about 240,000 jobs. Already, states have lost $400 million in economic activity thanks to the expiration of the UI extension. But isn't this Congress supposed to be #4jobs?
So extending UI benefits would shore up this economic recovery we've been waiting for. Why risk screwing it all up? Brian Beutler suggests G-O-TEA politicians simply hate poor people that much, and he may be onto something. He may have also been onto something yesterday in hinting that all this UI obstruction is really just another attempt to undermine the Obama Presidency.
However, Joan Walsh may also be onto something today in suggesting the G-O-TEA is starting to lose its war on down-on-their-luck Americans. Long story short: If House Republican "leaders" continue to block UI extension, they may very well drive their party back into the ditch they fell into last October, when they forced the Shutdown Shitfest on the world. And this time, we're in an election year.
Think about this: Do House Republicans really want #HouseOfFAIL trending during the peak of an election year? Or have the "leaders" finally lost any & all control over their TEA tinged troops?