“House votes to extend jobless benefits” – http://bit.ly/bKZhL2
On Tuesday, House Democrats revived legislation to extend unemployment benefits after previous legislation failed to pass the Senate.Â The new House bill, HR 5618,Â only addresses the unemployment extension. If approved, it would have allowed the more recently-unemployed to continue getting extended benefits andÂ Fed-Ed aid through November. It would be retroactive to May and June.Â
Orange County Congressmen Campbell, Royce, Rohrabacher, Calvert, and Miller all voted against the bill essentially telling the long-term unemployed in their districts; tough luck.
Congressman Rohrabacher’s was the only office to respond to our inquiry as to why they voted against the bill. Sticking to the same line repeated by the GOP leadership we were told:
“The Congressman voted against the extension because it was not paid for. It cost an additional $34 billion,” said Rohrabacher’s Communications Director Tara Setmayer.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez had this take on the votes of her colleagues:
“Itâ€™s no secret that Orange County has been hit hard by this recession. Our housing industry continues to suffer and thousands of people are out of work. Providing emergency relief to struggling families in our community should not be a partisan issue. I hope those who failed to support Tuesdayâ€™s extension bill realize that over 300,000 Californians will lose their benefits as a result.â€
I guess I’m not really that surprised that Rohrabacher, and the rest ofÂ his GOP caucus,Â would be so brazen to complain about a $34 billion extension ofÂ unemployment benefits not being offset by budget cuts. He and his colleagues have had no problemÂ supporting the $300 billionÂ the Bush tax cuts have added to the national debt. The current economic crisis is responsible for more than $500 billion of our National debt. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have added another $200 billion.Â
This chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that shows the primary inputs into the expected deficits for the next 10 years:
Adding to their hypocrisy, at the same time that the Republicans are demanding that the relatively small $34 billion cost of the unemployment benefits extensionÂ be offset by budget cuts, theyâ€™re simultaneously demanding the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans â€” which will add trillions to the deficit over the next ten years and are responsible for more than 20 percent of the deficit this year.
Apparently deficit spending is only acceptable if it subsidizes if it benefits the wealthy; if it benefits working class Americans, itâ€™s an outrage and must be stopped.
The Senate adjourned for the Fouth of July holiday on Wednesday evening and willÂ return for business until July 12th.Â The 200,000 unemployed Californians whoÂ will have lost their benets thisÂ weekend canÂ consider this their Fourth of July gift from those subjective deficit hawks in the GOP.
But the OC Republican delegation doesn’t only hold this contempt for the long-term unemployed in their districts. Yesterday I wrote about Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’s call for the Governor and his administration to release foreclosure-prevention funds already allocated for Orange County from federal funds. I followed up that post with a simple question to each member of the Orange County delegation. I asked them:
On Tuesday, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez called on the Governor of California and the California Housing Finance Agency to release federal dollars from the “Hardest Hit Fund” foreclosure-prevention fund that have been allocated for the Orange County region.
I am writing to ask if the Congressman,Â who represents portions of Orange County, is aware of the Congresswoman’s letter and if heÂ willÂ be joining her call for the release of these funds to the Orange County region?
The response I got to my inquiry…
Crickets! Not a sound from any of them.
We reached Irvine City Council member Beth Krom, who is challenging Congressman John Campbell for in the 48th district and she had this to say about these matters:
“Once again we see partisanship trump leadership at a time when Americans are continuing to face the hardships that come with unemployment. Iâ€™m disappointed that Orange Countyâ€™s Congressional delegation has helped to undermine the economic security of millions of Americans who did not create the economic mess weâ€™re in, but have become victims of it. It is clear that the needs of their constituents take a back seat to power plays and gamesmanship.”