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CBC Leader Says Cost of 99ers Bill is "Prohibitive"

April 5, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

If the Congressional Black Caucus wants to pass H.R.589 and help the long-term unemployed, this is not the way to go about it:

In an exchange during their meeting last Wednesday with the President, CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver called the cost of the 99ers bill (H.R. 589 sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee of California) “prohibitive.”

In Rep. Cleaver’s words: “It was what I expected because my staff had done a lot of research on it.  And we found that the cost of that program would be between $14 and 20 billion dollars which is cost prohibitive.  So there was no point in the President saying, ‘yeah I support it…’  when I laid it out I said to him, ‘Mr. President, I’m going to raise this, and this is one of our issues because  this is one of our issues — it’s an issue among our members…’  I ended it by saying, however, I understand that the cost is enormous. He (President Obama) said (to Rob Nabors [Obama Admin legislative director] sitting on the sofa) ‘Rob how much is it?’ And Rob said, ‘between 14 and 20 billion’ and I said, let’s move on. Because there was no point — that’s not going to happen,” recounted Cleaver.

Of course, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver [D, MO-5] has never been the strongest advocate for 99ers legislation and President Obama doesn’t control Congress’ legislative agenda. Reps. Bobby Scott [D, VA-3] and Barbara Lee [D, CA-9] are the ones who have been fighting for this, and they have a meeting with the Republican House leadership on Thursday to discuss offsets that could be used to cover the costs of the legislation. Still, if Cleaver cared about this, he wouldn’t have approached this as a dead issue when he had the chance to get the President on board.

Cleaver is pictured above.

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  • DeborahJBrown 04/06/2011 4:17am

    The very fact that the cost of providing a small amount of aid to the longest term unemployed is so high attests to the fact that millions of people are in desperate need. How can Congress continue to ignore this and do nothing at all to provide some kind of relief, not even serious efforts at restoring jobs? What is to become of the American people if we choose not to take care of our own people first? The people would prefer job restoration but if that can’t be accomplished, if businesses refuse to do this then we’ve got to stop giving them huge tax breaks and start collecting taxes from companies like GE who pay nothing in taxes to provide some relief to America’s starving people.

  • UI_For_All 04/06/2011 9:58am

    “PROHIBITIVE” Not a very “Clever Cleaver”
    CITIbank needs help, bailout BILLIONs, now CEO Vikram Pandit receives $1.75 million salary, WHY ?

    Come on MR CLEAVER, BAIL the 99er’s out, least it was not their FAULT,
    was it Pandits FAULT ??

    Help every 99er. Draw UI Tier 5 until National rate below 7.5%.

    No one on UI because they want to.
    No one gets rich on UI.
    Every dollar puts 1.70 – 2.00 back in economy.
    Reduce burden on other assistance programs.
    Getting UI 99er keeps actively searching for work.
    Gives a more accurate number of Unemployed.
    Keep people off the streets.
    Goal get people back to work, use UI to find work.
    Everyone can have “enough time” to find work during this economic storm.

    If costs 80 billion for 4 tiers of UI for 13 months, say there is an equal number of 99ers, to the 4 tiers then this system could run for 10 years for same value the top 2% get in Tax breaks for 2 years.

    Once National rate below 7.5% Tier 5 would end 30 days from announcement.

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