There is a lot of political chatter surrounding extending unemployment benefits, but the reality is that 73,000 more Americans will lose their unemployment benefits this week because Republicans are blocking an extension.
After Democrats came up one Republican vote short on extending unemployment benefits today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, “I’m beginning to believe there is nothing that will get Republicans to yes. It’s a ‘no’ vote because they don’t want to extend unemployment insurance. We’re one Republican vote away from restoring benefits to 1.7 million Americans. There is one Republican vote standing in the way of a lifeline to these 1.7 million people. And every week [Republicans] delay, another 73,000 Americans lose these crucial benefits — benefits that help them keep food on the table and a roof over their heads while they search for a job.”
Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes blasted Sen. Mitch McConnell for taking the ability to provide food and shelter away from 20,000 Kentuckians, “Today, nearly 20,000 Kentuckians were one vote away from receiving the income they need to put food on their families’ tables; Mitch McConnell could have been that one vote. Instead, he chose to turn his back on good people who have worked hard and want to work again. To make matters worse, McConnell continues to laugh in their faces by refusing to offer a jobs plan to help put them back to work.”
Any of the Republicans who voted no could have been the one vote that would save 73,000 Americans from being pushed closer to extreme poverty. Mitch McConnell could have been that vote. John McCain could have been that vote. Any of the Republicans senators who are eyeing a run at the 2016 Republican nomination could have chosen to show the country that they are ready to appeal to all Americans, but Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio demonstrated why the GOP is the party of the few by voting no.
Senate Republicans think that they are achieving some sort of victory by ripping the last remaining lifeline away from hardworking Americans who can’t find a job. This consistent act of cruelty is on the verge of backfiring, as each no vote reveals that Senate Republicans don’t care about the needs of the American people.
Americans who are losing their unemployment benefits aren’t going to blame Obama. They aren’t going to blame Harry Reid. They are going to blame the Republican Party. Each week that goes by without an unemployment benefits extension builds more anger towards the GOP.
This isn’t about politics, or game playing. This is about the fact that 73,000 people a week are losing their unemployment benefits, because one more Republican won’t stand up and do the right thing.
The cowardice of one will tarnish all. Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans think they are winning the battle over UI, but they are really losing the war and votes with their refusal to help the unemployed.