Senate Democrats

Over Republican’s Objections, Senate Democrats Remain Committed to Helping Americans Suffering in Bush Economy

Democrats are proud to have ensured that 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans will receive rebate checks, but are disappointed that Bush Republicans blocked other key improvements to the economic stimulus bill that would further strengthen the economy.  Democrats will continue to fight to help those who have lost their jobs, help small businesses suffering in a shaky economy, and help American families avoid foreclosure.

Senate Democrats Proposed Extending Unemployment Benefits –  Republicans Objected

Senator Reid Asked to Add Unemployment Benefits to the Stimulus Bill… “Unfortunately there are well over a million Americans who are expected to exhaust unemployment benefits from January to June of this year. they need our help. If we extend the same assistance to them to the long-term unemployed in the past, our entire economy will benefit. I ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding the previous unanimous consent agreement, that the uninsure provision be added as an amendment to the bill currently before the Senate.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

…But Senate Republicans Objected. Senator Gregg: “When unemployment exceeds a certain level, there is a reason to extend it. But this nation’s unemployment is at under 5%, which is deemed to be full employment, there is no trigger attached to this proposal. In a state like New Hampshire where unemployment is 3.6%, the extension might have an opposite effect. So I would object.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

Senate Democrats Proposed $1 Billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance – Republicans Objected

Senator Reid Asked to Add $1 Billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to the Stimulus Bill… The stimulus package I introduced earlier this week included a $1 billion increase for the low-income energy assistance program or LIHEAP… I ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding the previous unanimous consent agreement, the LIHEAP agreement in the previously withdrawn first degree amendment be added to the amendment in a bill currently before the Senate.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

…But Senate Republicans Objected. Senator Gregg: “Reserving the right to object. I strongly support LIHEAP and continue to support its expansion. I believe it should be paid for. I don’t happen that we should pass on to our children and grandchildren the cost of the oil bills today. I think that we should expand LIHEAP, but as part of expanding LIHEAP, we’re offsetting savings somewhere else. So at this point I would have to object to this proposal.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

Senate Democrats Proposed Tax Incentives to Encourage Investment in Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources – Republicans Objected

Senator Reid Asked to Add Renewable Energy Tax Incentives to the Stimulus Bill… “Madam President, the Senate Finance Committee contained tax incentives to encourage alternative and renewable sources of energy and investments in energy efficiency… Not withstanding the previous unanimous consent agreement, the energy amendment be added as an amendment in the bill currently before the Senate.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

… But Senate Republicans Objected. Senator Gregg: “These tax credits would essentially not kick in for literally years in many instances and aren’t going to do a great deal to stimulate and should not be added to the package. On behalf of the leadership, I object.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

Senate Democrats Proposed Bond Authority to Help Homeowners Refinance Sub-Prime Loans – Republicans Objected

Senator Reid Asked to Add a Provision to Expand Bond Authority to Help Homeowners Refinance Sub-Prime Loans.. “The Finance Committee rightfully so by an overwhelming bipartisan vote agreed to include a provision in this legislation designed to help homeowners to allow them to refinance. The President of the United States proposed this in the State of the Union address… and I would hope that we could get agreement on this, a unanimous consent agreement, that [it] be added as an amendment to the bill currently before the Senate.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

… But Senate Republicans Objected. Senator Gregg: “Reserving the right to object. I think this proposal makes a great deal of sense, but in the name of the Speaker of the House, I will have to object. So I object.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

Senate Democrats Proposed Increasing Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Families – Republicans Objected

Senator Reid Asked to Add Additional Nutrition Assistance… “That’s why according to more than one economic study, the absolute best way to stimulate the economy is to increase food stamp benefits… It is the best bang for the buck. I therefore ask unanimous consent notwithstanding the previous unanimous consent agreement the underlying bill be modified by adding a provision that would increase nutrition assistance through the rest of this calendar year.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

…But Senate Republicans Objected. Senator Gregg: “Again this package was worked out between the House Leadership, the House Republican Leadership, the House Democratic Leadership and the Administration and basically the purpose here is to move the package quickly and this was not part of the package. Therefore, on behalf of the Leadership, I will have to object.” [Congressional Record, 2/7/08]

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