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One Last Round With President Bush

November 5, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The country may have already picked a new President, but Congress is still going to have to deal with George Bush if they are going to pass a new economic stimulus package before January. House Democrats have tentatively scheduled Congress to return for a special lame-duck session the week of November 16th to try and pass a $100 billion stimulus package and get it signed into law by President Bush. But striking a deal with Bush in the lame duck session is going to be difficult.

According to CongressDaily ($), House Democrats are planning to include “federal matching funds for state Medicaid programs, an extension of unemployment benefits, expanded food stamp spending and money for infrastructure projects” in their new economic stimulus package. That’s a package that Democrats can probably pass in the House, but might not be able to pass in the Senate, where, despite their success in the elections this week, they will still only have a 51-49 majority in the lame-duck session. Since the Republican minority in the Senate can require 60 votes for the stimulus package to pass, they’ll probably demand that the stimulus package is stripped down to just an unemployment insurance extension and food stamp expansion.

Even if Congress passes a stripped-down economic stimulus package, the Bush Administration has indicated that they would prefer to leave the Wall Street bailout as their last and final legislative accomplishment. “We believe the appropriate stimulus right now is the $700 billion stimulus that comes in the form of the TARP [”troubled asset relief program"]. That’s a huge amount of money, and we believe that it’s targeted at exactly the right thing," said, Eddie Lazear, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for the President, at a press conference last week. “The approach that we’re taking is, deal with the cause, don’t deal with the symptoms,” he added.

One of the primary “symptoms” of the slumping economy is, of course, a steady increase in the number of unemployed Americans. The Department of Labor’s unemployment report for October is due out on Friday, and it’s expected to show that 200,000 jobs were lost during the month and that the unemployment rate grew from 6.1 percent to 6.3 percent. And the numbers have been going this direction for quite a while at this point, so the amount long-term unemployed who have been unable to find work before exhausting their insurance benefits is also growing.

If you’re a frequent visitor to OpenCongress, you’ve probably noticed that several of the most-viewed bills on the site have to do with dealing unemployment insurance benefits. One of them in particular, H.R. 6867, has nearly 15,000 user comments from unemployed Americans who are pushing Congress to extend unemployment benefits. Traffic to that bill page is coming overwhelmingly from Google – people doing web searches for phrases like “unemployment extension” and “is there any chance of getting an extension of unemployment benefits.” The result is a strong and informed grass-roots community working together on OpenCongress to lobby Congress and the Bush administration on this issue. Their efforts, along with other groups pushing for an unemployment benefit extension, could help refocus the administration’s attention on the “symptoms.”

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  • Anonymous 11/06/2008 3:00am

    It is so sad the Senate takes there good all time to get together to help the unemployed. Must be nice for them to have money to pay there bills and put a roof over there head and food on the table. Everyday it takes for them to get together… is everydday the American unemployed are losing everything they worked so hard to earn.

  • Anonymous 11/06/2008 6:22am

    JohnBoy Boehner and his brother JimBob Jordan were both re-elected to the House and if they have anything to say(if they bother to even show up and vote)the unemployment extension won’t go thru. They say they represent Ohio but they only think of themselves. We are hit hard in Ohio with job loses and they BOTH think we are lazy people who just need to go get a job. Tell us where the jobs are and we will go get them, but I refuse to move to China,Mexico etc…

  • Anonymous 11/06/2008 8:50am

    Lets face it, Bush thinks we the unemployed are just a bunch of expendable surplus. Here in Wisconsin you can find work for minimum wage! Bush thinks this american dream of $6.95 per hour allows you to stay in your home, even with wheels on it. However, older, educated job seekers deal with age bassed barriers every day in this economy. I am so tired of watching Bush and his staff try to answer questions requiring thought, they look like a mule looking at a new gate! I’m just trying to avoid living in the basement of an outhouse without a qualified co-signor! My 401K is a now a 101k. I deposited this money in god we trust and took 100% of the risk. What happened to it? Who has it? What are they doing with it? Maybe my accountant can figure out a way to add this loss as a deduction. So, I punt! Just keep paying your taxes. Oh, I you see Bush tell him the moving van has been dispatched, and it is time for him and his cabinet to hit the bricks.

  • Anonymous 11/06/2008 8:54am

    The Republicans just were decimated in the elections. They have become a regional party of rednecks and rich tycoons and religious fanatics. They have forfeited their right to frame the debates anymore. If they really want to cling onto these old ideas that have proven not have worked then fine they will keep digging their party’s grave deeper and deeper. If Bush wants his legacy to be a Wall St bailout and no sympathy or empathy for the very people he has robbed of their livelihood by shipping jobs around the world then fine it will be a sad legacy for him indeed. I think it’s funny that the Republicans still don’t get the message the people rejected them, their ideals and policies by a resounding message. They still don’t get it and seems like they won’t for awhile. I can promise you if they obstruct everything and create more havoc for the next 2 years then they will cease to almost exist as a party in 2010. Time to grow up and take responsibility for your failures to the country. You know personal responsibility like you are always railing on about? I need this extension lost my job through no fault of my own and have been forced to sell family heirlooms and other belongings to even keep going fighting for this and the last extension. I like the many other victims of this economy who have lost homes, sons and daughters in war will never forget what the Republicans did to this country and if they choose not to change course then they will keep getting to be a smaller and more irrelevant voice. I have never hated in my life until the last year but I truly do hate the Republicans and can’t wait for a new day. I will never vote for them again and obstructing this badly needed Bill will put a rancor in the hearts of the people they do not realize. They are sealing their own fate. Time to serve the people again. Look to your past like real Republicans like Eisenhower and Roosevelt. That is the change your party needs to survive. The days of corporations running the country are OVER in case you did not get that memo Tuesday night. This will be the last Bill you ever obstruct for the People.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 11/08/2008 6:05am

    The Republicans seem to be completely out of touch and running on platitudes that have no meaning regarding changes that we have faced and the consequences of these changes. Good riddance! Maybe when they wake up and figure out that they are obsolete, they will try to get in touch again and our country can move forward. But I doubt their smart enough.

  • Anonymous 11/06/2008 12:12pm

    The new unemployment statistics come out on Friday and that will hopefully encourage the white house to rethink endorsing a stimulus package.. nothing new that they are more concerned that their last piece of legislation then suffering Americans… Congress needs to pass extended unemployment, increase weeks of eligibility for those who have timed out, and a stimulus package… infrastructure jobs are only going to help a small segment of the unemployed, yahoo is laying off, circuit city is closing stores… the list goes on…

  • Anonymous 11/06/2008 10:01pm

    Obama has been paining Congress for two years and we now have five year foreign aid cash free money and loans. The US is broke. Obama’s banking pals at Merrill, etc. had the US bail them out just as they sold to the foreigners and we went into another election, like the vote for the foreign aid cash is just before the Presidential elections and the US government budget vote.

    The last two years has been to keep Obama and his pals happy or we’re pained or used.

    Jesus is the wafer, not me.

  • Anonymous 11/08/2008 3:59pm

    The extra checks willcome in handy for alot of people for Christmas. The children in this country could use a good holiday.

  • Anonymous 11/08/2008 4:03pm

    I’ve been out of work since Feb 12, 2008. My extension has 2 weeks left.I find it hard to see where that 700 billion is helping me with my bills or house payment. Well, I already stopped paying for my credit card bills; soon when my unemployement runs out. I’ll stop paying on my auto loans; after that it will be foreclosure and bankruptcy for me. " Now I Ask".How Does that 700 billion help me or any other person in my shoes.

  • Anonymous 11/08/2008 4:23pm

    NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE LITTLE PEOLPE… Take your time getting us help it’s o.k… No rush at all. Wells-fargo “says” pay me when you can; we can wait as long as you need. We Will all be out of jobs because you are makeing short term solution for long term problems. Soon you’ll need to bail out the banks again because another million people just lost there home during LAME DUCK SESSION and the lack of responsibility on your part will have cost us even more tax dollars. The longer you wait to give extensions the worse it will become and the harder it will be able to fix. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. LETS GOOOOOOO, What are we paying you for….

  • Anonymous 11/09/2008 9:23am

    Do you know what you call Bush in a tree with a bunch of monkey’s? A Branch Manager! If Bush and his yes sir puppet advisors obstructs this Lame Duck session and do nothing, they really are bain dead!

  • Anonymous 11/09/2008 9:47am

    I know how you feel I to have been out of work since February 2008. The unemployed are many with few liveable wages. I took a State test yesterday for 2 vacancy announcements and there had to be 1,600 applicants. I felt like going back home. Everyone felt the same way and were visably depressed about how phucqed up Bush and the enconomy are.

  • Anonymous 11/10/2008 10:36am

    I have been unemployed for the first time in 40 years. As a former Vietnam veteran and corporate executive, I now find myself facing bankruptcy with no extension of unemployment benefits from the very “lame” duck Congress. This is not an ordinary crisis. I just want to keep a roof over my head in senior housing.

  • lisap 11/10/2008 10:58pm

    We have now discovered who our next head commander is. Congratulations, Mr. Obama on becoming 44th President of the United States of America. Your endurance through the 22-month campaign is highly admirable. However, your journey has just begun. There are so many struggles, wherein you will may or may not overcome depending on decisions you will make. You have been chosen to become the decision maker for all Americans to resolve the major issues in our economy. First and foremost, the financial system and the faltering economy must be stabilized and we understand that you have proposed a number of different stimulus packages in recent weeks regarding this matter. Your plans to temporarily exempt seniors from having to make annual withdrawals from their IRAs and 401 (k) s after the age of 70 ½ and to temporarily exempt the unemployed from having to pay tax on their unemployment benefits will most likely have you score on both sides. Nevertheless, the biggest focus should be on keeping the bank bailout/credit repair that started on track, reduce real estate foreclosures and change the position of financial regulation. To sum up, you have all your objectives laid out for you, Mr. President-Elect.

    Click to read more on Payday Loans

  • Anonymous 11/11/2008 4:15am

    O.K. Mr. Obama time for everybody to get out of the pool! I hope you hold true to your word and my hope that you will clean up the frivolous and vindictive worthless eaters in Washington. When I watched you say change is now comming, I also felt that we the people men and women really are created equal. Time for the other 95% of Americans to have a voice for trying to do the right thing. Hopefuly your moral and ethical character will tell these rich special interest and lobbyist to hit the bricks, or as we have always had to do; write your Congressman bud.

  • Anonymous 11/14/2008 1:18pm

    I went back to work full-time because my husband lost his job that he was in for 15 years. We have a disabled daughter, injured at birth, and the cost of our health insurance as well as the cut we took in pay (he earned more than myself) is causing us to live from check to check. We just found out that our car should have been recalled and will cost $600 to fix. We have no money for our daughters for Christmas. In two weeks, we will no longer to keep the utilities up to date unless we eat a lot less. I make too much for government assistance, but extending UC would get us through to spring. I’m so tired of struggling…have to be happy for the kids…very tired of all the hard work just to be poor…

  • Anonymous 11/14/2008 1:22pm

    Without the UC we cannot keep our utilities up-to-date unless we eat quite a bit less. I have two young daughters and my husband lost his job of 15 years. I work full-time at a good job but the health insurance is so expensive that it isn’t enough to do more than struggle from check to check. We now need to spend $600 to fix our car that should have been recalled and no money whatsoever for Christmas. I earn to much for assistance and am trying to keep us afloat. The extension would get us through to spring. My youngest daughter is disabled and injured at birth. In two weeks we will fall behind on our utilities. Things are impossibly hard…

  • PersonalLoans 11/19/2008 10:16pm

    Apparently, it wasn’t enough to cover the mortgage crisis up with a TARP. No, Treasury Secretary Paulson’s Troubled Asset Relief Program wasn’t the kind of credit repair scores the endangered homeowners needed. Now that Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Sheila Bair has pushed a new mortgage modification program forward, 1.5 million homeowners will have someone new on their side when they’re facing foreclosure. This $24.4 billion program will be drawn from the $700 billion pool that TARP set up, and it’s a very straightforward system. Lenders will be given a stipend of $1,000 per loan they renegotiate with financially stuck homeowners, and in the event of default on a loan, the FDIC has promised to take on up to 50 percent of the loss. Paulson has condemned this as mere spending that will only bankrupt the FDIC, others view this action on Bair’s part as a needed investment to maintain liquidity in the mortgage industry. While this won’t solve all of the problems at once, it’s certainly a valiant effort to help repair credit, isn’t it? Click to read more on credit-repair/">Credit Repair.

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