Here we go again. Another month, another bill extending unemployment benefits and extending the federal deficit.
Only this time the Democrats have now waited almost an entire month since these programs last expired to come up with a plan for how to extend them, leaving hundreds of thousands of long-term unemployed people without needed benefits. And, it is all because Democrats refuse to pay for these benefits despite record federal deficits.
Mr. Speaker, I am one of many on this side who support helping long-term unemployed people. I have voted for these benefits. Even though my home state of Michigan recently ended its four-year run of the highest unemployment rate in the Nation, the pain suffered by our residents remains real.
But 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 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, thanks to the other side. The Democrats’ trillion-dollar stimulus plan created millions of unemployed workers instead of millions of promised jobs. We can and should cut that ineffective stimulus spending to pay for extending UI benefits, as my colleague Mr. Heller of Nevada has proposed. 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 only thing we stimulated is more government jobs.
Even Democrats now question the wisdom of all that spending, as evidenced by the fact the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee proposed last week to cut some of it to pay for extending other expired policies.
But instead of that common-sense approach, our colleagues on the other side have brought up this unpaid-for bill under a process that prevents any amendment, including any effort to pay for this spending. So this bill will be defeated, and they know that. Not because Members on both sides oppose helping the unemployed – but because Members, reflecting what they are hearing from their constituents, oppose adding another $33 billion to our $13 trillion mountain of debt.
Look around the world. Countries are sinking in debt. Yet the Democrat leaders of this House seem among the last to understand this reckless spending cannot go on forever. I urge my colleagues to oppose this deficit extending bill today, so we can bring up a real bill that allows us to pass and actually pay for these benefits for the long-term unemployed. That is the only road out of the policy dead end into which the other side’s spendaholic ways have driven us.