14 Million Americans Unemployed? GOP Proposes Cut to Unemployment Insurance.Â Rep. Barbara Lee says proposal would be “devastating… we need the safety net.” There is a GOP proposal being pushed by House Republicans led by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (see photo)Â (who voted FOR bailing out banks for $800 billion dollars in 2008) to reduce the number of weeks unemployed people are eligible for in half. Â The usual 99 weeks could be cut to 26! Â The GOP also wants to make the rules to qualify for unemployment much tighter. Â I spoke with shocked Democrats who heard of the idea yesterday and they were shaking their heads in amazement. War on the poor and middle class? Â What’s the motivation? The cut to unemployment insurance would make extending benefits cheaper (if they extend them at all…). Â For the first time this week President Obama finally mentioned the unemployment extension (and not just the payroll tax cut).
Remember, this is the same Republican party that pushed in December 2010 for extending the Bush tax cuts for $400 billion per year. Â That tax cut was unpaid for (we borrow from China, Saudi Arabia etc to pay for it). Â Now, unemployment insurance payfors must be haggled over. Â The cost of an unemployment insurance extension is $44 billion through 2012. Â The cost over 4 years has been $434 billion READ CNN STORYÂ — over FOUR YEARS. The cost for ONE year of the Bush Tax cuts is $400 billion. Ask yourself: Is a tax cut extension for people who don’t need it and could survive without it more important than keeping people who have zero income coming in from going under? Â These are the same members — Dave Camp, Eric Cantor, Speaker Boehner — who voted to bailout the banks in 2008 for $800 billion yet can’t find money for middle class and low income Americans.
In THE HILL, Rep. Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on Ways and Means said the GOP has, â€œchosen a path of confrontation instead of searching for common ground… they are following a path of blaming victims of the economic downturn, I can only hope that when Republicans go home this weekend they will talk with unemployed Americans and begin to understand the exceptionally challenging circumstances they face.â€