A Democrat on the House Budget Committee said Wednesday that there is no reason for the proposed extension of unemployment benefits making its way through Congress to be offset with spending reductions elsewhere in the budget.
Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, said that it is “morally wrong and economically stupid” to cut benefits to help pay for anther extension of jobless benefits.
“When has emergency unemployment compensation, first of all, been paid for?” Ms. Lee said on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal.” “Why in the world are we using the most vulnerable, those people who are living on the edge who are looking for a job? Why now are they being used as a political pawn?”
With the help of six Republicans, the Democratic-led Senate pushed a bill forward that would extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed who have already exhausted their state-based benefits.
The extended benefits for roughly 1.3 million Americans expired on Dec. 28.
But Republicans in the House and Senate are demanding that the cost of the extension is paid for with saving or cuts in other parts of the budget.
The Washington Times reported Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, will now have to decide whether to allow amendments to the bill before it comes up for a final vote.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Tuesday that the lower chamber will not act on the bill unless Democrats rewrite the plan to find other savings and include some other pro-job programs.