On MSNBC's The Ed Show last night, during a segment on the fight to extend unemployment benefits, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) floated an idea that I've seen mentioned in our own comments section: Why not simultaneously respond to the Gulf oil spill and the unemployment crisis by creating a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that can aid with the cleanup? From his remarks (watch the full video here):
MCDERMOTT: I made a suggestion to my staff a couple of days ago: Why don‘t we
write a bill for a CCC -- you know, sort of a conservation corps like
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had -- put it out along the beaches of the Gulf
Coast and start picking up oil? This is
needed work. This could easily be paid for by BP because they say
they‘re going to pay for the cleanup. So it‘s not going to the
taxpayers. But we could put people to work in legitimate things that
really make a difference in this country. There are a lot of things we
could do if we went after it.
On a related note, the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen notes that Senate Republicans' latest ploy to delay an unemployment benefit extension involves a proposal to require those receiving aid to undergo drug tests. "If I didn't know better," he writes, "I might think Republican lawmakers actively
dislike -- on a personal level -- those who've lost their jobs in the
UPDATE (10:37 a.m.): The Senate voted down the so-called "tax extenders bill" by a 52 to 45 margin this morning. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) will likely offer a smaller package in the coming days, although no Republicans have said they are willing to support that bill, either. Annie Lowrey offers more details here.