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Camp Floor Statement: H.R. 5618 Federal Unemployment Extension

July 01, 2010

It is said that Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Well, that is exactly what the Democrats are doing today – trying to pass for the third time an unpaid for extension of unemployment benefits that the Senate – and the American people – have repeatedly rejected.  In fact, just last night, the Senate again said ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to this fiscal insanity.

Democrats should put an end to this sham and pay for this $34 billion in spending so unemployed Americans can get the help they deserve.

Let me be clear – I support and Republicans have supported extending unemployment benefits, but we must not do so at a cost to the deficit, to the economy and to future generations.  Our inability to get our fiscal house in order isn’t just damaging future generations; it is wreaking havoc on jobs today. 

Surely, if Congress can find money to protect doctors then we can find money to protect the unemployed.

On Tuesday, the House defeated this same bill, one that would add $34 billion to the deficit, under a process that banned any amendments, including any efforts to pay for this bill.  We are back again today, and shortly we will consider a Republican motion to actually pay for these benefits. That’s right, there is a way to pay for this spending and we should do so.  Any member who is serious about reining in debt and deficit should vote in favor of the MTR.

The inability or unwillingness – or both – of the Democrats to pay for this bill has meant  unemployment benefits have been expired for almost a month, leaving hundreds of thousands of long-term unemployed people without needed benefits, and that number grows every week. 

Let me repeat that fact – Americans are not receiving their unemployment checks because Democrats refuse to pay for these benefits at a time of record federal deficits. 

As I said on Tuesday, the American people know it isn’t right to simply add the cost of this spending to our already overdrawn national credit card.  They want to help those in need but also know that someone has to pay when the government spends money.  That assistance must not put our fiscal house as a nation in even worse shape.  And we are already in terrible shape. 

Stimulus hasn’t worked – in its wake nearly 3 million private sector jobs were lost, unemployment soared to 10 percent nationwide, and 48 of 50 states lost jobs.  The American people should not be punished for the failure of stimulus, and our children and grandchildren should not be punished for the failure of this Congress to be fiscally responsible

Even the Administration has agreed in the past that paying for unemployment benefits is “fiscally responsible” and that “fiscal responsibility is central to the medium-term recovery of the economy and the creation of jobs.” 

That is a quote from the Statement of Administration Policy on a bill last fall extending these same benefits; the only one of eight unemployment extensions so far that was fully paid for. 

So, let’s heed their admonition, reject this bill – as the Senate already has – and vote to support the unemployed and in favor of fiscal responsibility by supporting the Motion to Recommit.