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Funding the War, Dropping the Unemployed

June 4, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

(Updated Below)

Finally, an update on the war funding supplemental.

With President Bush threatening to veto the bill, it’s been clear that one of the three big groups with things at stake in it were going to have to be sacrificed – Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, who are hoping for an expansion of education benefits, the unemployed, who are looking for a 13-week unemployment insurance extension, or wealthy Americans, who are facing an income surtax to pay for those spending increases. According to the Washington Post, the unemployed are going to be the ones to lose out.

>House Democrats are likely to drop a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance benefits from a major spending package that includes continued funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that would create a new education benefit for military veterans returning from the battlefields.
>
>House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said yesterday that the unemployment insurance provision would “probably not” be part of the final package of war and domestic spending, which has become the most important legislative battle this spring between congressional Democrats and President Bush.

Tthis decision is all about the Blue Dogs, a group of about 50 conservative and moderate House Democrats who pride themselves on fiscal prudence:

>The unemployment insurance provision is one of several measures likely to be cut in an effort to win the support of the Blue Dogs and to increase the opposition to a veto that President Bush has threatened over several aspects of the bill.
>
>Aides and lawmakers said there is general agreement on a final version of the bill that would give the Pentagon about $165 billion in war funds and the new education benefit.
>
>But the veterans provision is the most costly domestic add-on to the bill, at about $52 billion over 10 years. Bush and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, oppose the measure, saying it is too costly and could encourage troops to leave military service at a time when personnel already are stretched thin.
>
>When the House passed its first version of the bill in mid-May, Pelosi gave in to Blue Dogs’ demands and funded the new veterans education program with tax increases on the wealthy. But the tax increases did not pass the Senate.
>
>House Democrats now hope that eliminating the unemployment insurance and other spending from the bill will mollify Blue Dog concerns on spending for the new “G.I. Bill.”

The unemployment insurance extension bill, H.R.5749, has been the hottest bill on OpenCongress over the last few months, with more than 11,000 comments from people fighting to get it passed. If you are hoping for Congress to extend unemployment insurance, you should join the discussion on that page and help in organizing to put the proposal back in the supplemental. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, “unemployment insurance is a particularly effective stimulus.”

UPDATE: In light of the new unemployment numbers released today showing the biggest one-month jump in unemployment in 22 years, Democrats may try again to include an extension of benefits in the supplemental.

CQ:

>House Democratic leaders have been planning to drop this provision, worried that it would lead to a veto of the war funding measure the chamber could not override. The new jobless figures, however, put the issue back in play. Labor groups are pushing for the benefit to be included in the war bill.
>
>House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., vowed that Congress “will send the president legislation to provide urgently needed assistance to millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet.”
>
>But she conspicuously did not promise to do so in the supplemental spending bill.
>
>Even before Friday’s unemployment report, Senate Democratic leaders had reiterated their desire to include the extended benefits in the war funding bill. And some House Democrats, including Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel , D-N.Y., have also questioned why Democrats shouldn’t challenge Bush on the issue.

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Comments

  • Anonymous 06/05/2008 2:15pm

    This is unbelievable that they would take away from the jobless and give more to this needless war, it’s hard to believe.

  • Anonymous 06/05/2008 6:18pm

    IT’S a war bill, not an unemployment bill.

  • Anonymous 06/06/2008 6:09am

    I need an extension of benefits or I will lose my house!!!! I have been diligently job searching for almost six months and my efforts have been fruitless. WE NEED THIS BILL PASSED! WE NEED FOOD ON OUR TABLES! WE ARE IN DIRE NEED OF THIS BILL BEING PASSED!!!! House Majority Leader Senator Hoyer of Maryland: DO THE RIGHT THING!

  • Anonymous 06/06/2008 6:36am

    When will Patrick Murphy do the right thing for the unemployed people of Bucks County, Pennsylvania???? Don’t hold your breath — he is a Blue Dog.

  • Anonymous 06/06/2008 6:39am

    Please include the extension of benefits in the Bill. We are going to lose our home otherwise. We cannot even put food on our table. This issue should not be taken lightly!

  • Anonymous 06/06/2008 11:07am

    How is that our reps can pour our hard earned tax dollars overseas, yet turn a blind eye to those taxpayers who have lost their jobs, and now jobless benefits throught no fault of their own?
    Unlike the tax rebates, that income is taxable and will do much more to stimulate the economy?!
    What is going on here?

  • Anonymous 06/06/2008 11:21am

    This Makes me sick that the Democrats would cut this and not the war. I always voted Democrat but if this is not passed I am now voting Republican.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 06/09/2008 5:24am

    Do you honestly think the Republicans would have even considered adding such a provision for the unemployed in the first place?

  • GulfWarVet 06/06/2008 1:05pm

    Today, June 6, 2008 the Dow Jones plunged 395 points, oil price topped $139 a barrel and the Labor Dept. reported that the economy lost 49,000 jobs in May.

    With such dire signs of such doom and gloom, you would think that Congress and the Senate would take immediate action to stimulate the economy by passing HR 5749.

    It’s a damn shame that even people who have good jobs are finding it difficult to survive in an economy that’s suffering from a recession. Although, don’t tell the Blue Dogs that we’re in a recession. Heartless Blue Dogs are living high on the hog with their free grade A insurance plans while the rest of us pay through the nose for any type of half-way decent medical insurance.

    Congress should have passed S2544 when Ted Kennedy proposed it back in the beginning of the year. Good Bless Ted Kennedy for trying to help the average Joe. At least Kennedy’s S2544 would have served as a buffer for the downward spiral that the economy is taking and allow people some needed time to try to get back on their feet before being thrown out of their homes or face financial ruin.

    I guess our elected officials just plan to wait until half of America loses their jobs, is thrown out of their homes because of the mortgage crises and the economy hits the skids before taking action.

    Voters will remember how these heartless Blue Dogs turned their back on the American come election time. Below is a list of the Blue Dogs that are blocking passage of HR 5749. I urge to you write to them and express your concern. Better yet, show your disapproval the next time they come up for reelection. OUT WITH THE BLUE DOGS IN WITH THE NEW DOGS!

    Rep. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.)
    Rep. Joe Baca (Calif.)
    Rep. John Barrow (Ga.)
    Rep. Melissa Bean (Ill.)
    Rep. Marion Berry (Ark.)
    Rep. Sanford Bishop (Ga.)
    Rep. Dan Boren (Okla.)
    Rep. Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
    Rep. Allen Boyd (Fla.)
    Rep. Dennis Cardoza (Calif.)
    Rep. Chris Carney (Pa.)
    Rep. Ben Chandler (Ky.)
    Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
    Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.)
    Rep. Robert E. Cramer (Ala.)
    Rep. Lincoln Davis (Tenn.)
    Rep. Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
    Rep. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.)
    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz)
    Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.)
    Rep. Bart Gordon (Tenn.)
    Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.)
    Rep. Stephanie Herseth (S.D.)
    Rep. Baron Hill (Ind.)
    Rep. Tim Holden (Pa.)
    Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.)
    Rep. Nick Lampson (Texas)
    Rep. Tim Mahoney (Fla.)
    Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga.)
    Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah)
    Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.)
    Rep. Charles Melancon (La.)
    Rep. Mike Michaud (Maine)
    Rep. Dennis Moore (Kansas)
    Rep. Patrick Murphy (Pa.)
    Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.)
    Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.)
    Rep. Mike Ross (Ark.)
    Rep. John Salazar (Colo.)
    Rep. Loretta Sanchez (Calif.)
    Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.)
    Rep. David Scott (Ga.)
    Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.)
    Rep. Zack Space (Ohio)
    Rep. John Tanner (Tenn.)
    Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.)
    Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)
    Rep. Charlie Wilson (Ohio)

  • GulfWarVet 06/06/2008 1:17pm

    Today, June 6, 2008 the Dow Jones plunged 395 points, oil price topped $139 a barrel and the Labor Dept. reported that the economy lost 49,000 jobs in May.

    With such dire signs of such doom and gloom, you would think that Congress and the Senate would take immediate action to stimulate the economy by passing HR 5749.

    It’s a damn shame that even people who have good jobs are finding it difficult to survive in an economy that’s suffering from a recession. Although, don’t tell the Blue Dogs that we’re in a recession. Heartless Blue Dogs are living high on the hog with their free grade A insurance plans while the rest of us pay through the nose for any type of half-way decent medical insurance.

    Congress should have passed S2544 when Ted Kennedy proposed it back in the beginning of the year. Good Bless Ted Kennedy for trying to help the average Joe. At least Kennedy’s S2544 would have served as a buffer for the downward spiral that the economy is taking and allow people some needed time to try to get back on their feet before being thrown out of their homes or face financial ruin.

    I guess our elected officials just plan to wait until half of America loses their jobs, is thrown out of their homes because of the mortgage crises and the economy hits the skids before taking action.

    Voters will remember how these heartless Blue Dogs turned their back on Americans come election time. Below is a list of the Blue Dogs that are blocking passage of HR 5749. I urge to you write to them and express your concern. Better yet, show your disapproval the next time they come up for reelection. OUT WITH THE BLUE DOGS IN WITH THE NEW DOGS!

    Rep. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.)
    Rep. Joe Baca (Calif.)
    Rep. John Barrow (Ga.)
    Rep. Melissa Bean (Ill.)
    Rep. Marion Berry (Ark.)
    Rep. Sanford Bishop (Ga.)
    Rep. Dan Boren (Okla.)
    Rep. Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
    Rep. Allen Boyd (Fla.)
    Rep. Dennis Cardoza (Calif.)
    Rep. Chris Carney (Pa.)
    Rep. Ben Chandler (Ky.)
    Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
    Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.)
    Rep. Robert E. Cramer (Ala.)
    Rep. Lincoln Davis (Tenn.)
    Rep. Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
    Rep. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.)
    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz)
    Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.)
    Rep. Bart Gordon (Tenn.)
    Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.)
    Rep. Stephanie Herseth (S.D.)
    Rep. Baron Hill (Ind.)
    Rep. Tim Holden (Pa.)
    Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.)
    Rep. Nick Lampson (Texas)
    Rep. Tim Mahoney (Fla.)
    Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga.)
    Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah)
    Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.)
    Rep. Charles Melancon (La.)
    Rep. Mike Michaud (Maine)
    Rep. Dennis Moore (Kansas)
    Rep. Patrick Murphy (Pa.)
    Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.)
    Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.)
    Rep. Mike Ross (Ark.)
    Rep. John Salazar (Colo.)
    Rep. Loretta Sanchez (Calif.)
    Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.)
    Rep. David Scott (Ga.)
    Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.)
    Rep. Zack Space (Ohio)
    Rep. John Tanner (Tenn.)
    Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.)
    Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)
    Rep. Charlie Wilson (Ohio)

  • Anonymous 06/07/2008 8:56am

    What does it take for Congress to realize that this is an “EMERGENCY” and has been for the best part of 12 months? It didn’t happen over nite!
    UE

  • Anonymous 06/08/2008 2:03pm

    For GOD’s SAKE – have COMPASSION on AMERICAN WORKERS who have through NO FAULT of their own lost their JOBS and are not getting rehired!!!!!!!!!

    What kind of country lets AMERICANS lose EVERYTHING and sends money OVERSEAS to people who have OUR jobs there???

  • Anonymous 06/08/2008 2:22pm

    In this order:
    Job goes away, Credit goes away, , House goes away!!! Because OF????? Middle America and the dream LOST!
    What does the younger generation think of all this if they don’t enlist? Come on, get real!
    UE, Frustrated

  • Anonymous 06/09/2008 9:39am

    Wasn’t Bush supposed to be a “compassionate conservative” when he was running? That’s about as true as him being a “uniter not a divider”. The unemployed in this country would be better off as well connected Iraqi’s to whom “footballs” of $100 bricks were handed to in the streets over there. Additionally, I understand that this extension would take $12 billion of $32 billion already in the unemployment fund.

  • Anonymous 06/09/2008 7:38pm

    Act Now! Please call both Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office right away and leave a message saying, “The extension of unemployment benefits must be included in the war spending bill to be voted by the House of Representatives.” Please also call you Congressperson right away and say, “Please tell Speaker Nancy Pelosi you strongly support providing extended unemployment insurance benefits as part of the war spending bill to be voted on by the House of Representatives.” The toll-free number is 1-877-331-1223.

    Thank you for keeping up the fight for the unemployed!

  • Anonymous 06/10/2008 12:51pm

    please include the unemployment extension on the bill. I am a single mother of 2 kids who just lost their father in august and shortly after i was laid off of my job…..we need this…it has been so tough..and when i heard about this i gained some hope. so please consider it for myself and all the other people in michigan who are losing their jobs. thank you

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