When the the jobless rate jumps from 5 percent to 5.5 percent in one month, what's the best way to protect those who've lost their jobs? According to five six GOP members of the Illinois congressional delegation, the answer is: nothing at all.
Reps. Mark Kirk (R-10th), ...
When the the jobless rate jumps from 5 percent to 5.5 percent in one month, what's the best way to protect those who've lost their jobs? According to
five six GOP members of the Illinois congressional delegation, the answer is: nothing at all.
Reps. Mark Kirk (R-10th), Donald Manzullo (R-16th), Peter Roskam (R-6th), John Shimkus (R-19th), Judy Biggert (R-13th), and Jerry Weller (R-11th) joined 139 of their House colleagues in voting against an extension of unemployment insurance benefits Wednesday night, obstructing a bill that fell just three votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a procedural hurdle and override President Bush's promised veto.
The Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008 would have extended the average $300-a-week benefit check by 13 weeks for all unemployed Americans, a step Bush says is generally reserved for times when the rate jumps considerably higher than its current 5.5 percent. But job statistics are pretty dire: May saw the biggest monthly unemployment rise since 1986 and 8.5 million Americans who want work cannot find it now -- an increase of 1.6 million over the past year, according to the Labor Department. The Washington Post editorial board wrote Tuesday that increasing benefits would have been an more-than-adequate stopgap:
Extending unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks should have been in the original stimulus package; it is the best arrow left in Congress's quiver. Not only would it help cushion the blow of joblessness to those laid off through no fault of their own, but economic studies suggest that unemployment benefits stimulate the economy because they are quickly spent on goods and services.
UPDATE: The bill came up for a vote again in the House today and this time passed with a veto-proof majority. The six GOP members listed above -- Kirk, Manzullo, Roskam, Shimkus, Biggert, and Weller -- all voted against the measure ... again.