Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released the following statement today in response to continued Republican delay of an extension of benefits for Americans struggling with high unemployment:
“Today the Senate again overwhelming voted to move forward with an extension of unemployment benefits, and again Senate Republicans are using delaying tactics to stop us from finishing this bill. After working over three weeks to provide this critical aid to Americans who are out of work, it is unconscionable that Republicans are continuing to delay this much needed financial assistance that will help families pay their bills.
“Anyone who has been watching the Senate over the past three years knows Republicans have become experts in wasting time – the American people’s time. While Republicans stall this extension another day, 7,000 more people lose their unemployment insurance. That means they have lost the checks they need to pay the rent, buy their groceries, or get their son or daughter a warm coat for the winter.
“This is unacceptable. I again call on my colleagues to stop this needless delay, do the right thing and provide this critical assistance to struggling American families.”
To see the number of Americans who have exhausted their benefits each day due to Republican delay, visit: http://democrats.senate.gov/unemployment/
Republican Senators can’t stop obstructing progress. Right now, Republicans are forcing the Senate to run down the clock before voting to extend unemployment benefits. By the time we vote on the unemployment benefits extension tomorrow, 200,000 people will have lost their benefits. But this latest obstruction is part of their pattern. From the Department of Defense bill to the health insurance reform legislation, their playbook is clear – it’s politics over policy every time.
REPUBLICANS IGNORE AMERICA’S STRUGGLING FAMILIES
Republicans Seek to Delay Passage of an Unemployment Insurance Extension Bill, Hurting Thousands of American Families. Republicans delayed a bill that would extend unemployment benefits by 14 weeks for workers who have used their regular 26 weeks of state compensation and provide an additional six weeks to workers in states with unemployment rates higher than 8.5 percent. [Senate Vote 332, HR 3548, 11/2/09]
Kyl – On Behalf of Republicans – Objects to Extending Unemployment Benefits. In early October on the Senate floor, Senator Kyl objected on behalf of the Republicans to considering extending unemployment benefits for Americans who need it now. Kyl said, “I have no doubt that at the appropriate time we’ll be able to work out some kind of agreement. But our side is going to need some time to look at it. We’ll need some republican ideas or amendments as well and need a CBO score. So at this time I’ll have to – on behalf of members on our side – impose an objection.” [Congressional Record, 10/8/09]
McConnell Objected to Extending Unemployment Benefits. Just last week, McConnell objected to passing the unemployment benefits extension without amendments. The Republican caucus continued their attempt to load the legislation with amendments ranging from e-Verify to ACORN. But McConnell just can’t support passing a clean bill and said, “(S)imply cutting people off and not allowing any amendments at all is not an acceptable approach. Therefore, I object.” [Congressional Record, 10/26/09]
McConnell AGAIN Objected toExtending Unemployment Benefits. Last week, McConnell AGAIN objected to passing the unemployment benefits extension. McConnell said, “(R)eserving the right to object…I am going to object because this is the same subject we’ve been going back on for days….Therefore, I object.” [Congressional Record, 10/29/09]
REPUBLICANS DELAY ON NEEDED ECONOMIC LEGISLATION
Republicans Tried to Keep the Senate from Debating a Bill to Provide Women Equal Pay for Equal Work. Republicans forced a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to a bill allowing employees to file charges of pay discrimination within 180 days of the last received paycheck affected by the alleged discriminatory decision. [Senate Vote 4, S. 181, 1/15/09]
Republicans Sought to Block a Bill Protecting Consumers from Credit Card Companies. The measure Republicans tried to block imposes restrictions on credit card company lending practices, including prohibiting companies from raising rates on cardholders during an account’s first year. It requires companies to give at least 45 days notice before increasing an annual percentage rate or changing an open-ended contract, and restricts companies from computing interest charges on balances based on more than one billing cycle. [Senate Vote 193, HR 627, 5/19/09]
Republicans Forced a Cloture Vote on a Bill to Reign in Mortgage Fraud. The bill Republicans sought to block expands federal fraud laws to cover funds paid under the economic stimulus package and the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, as well as mortgage lenders not directly regulated or insured by the federal government. [Senate Vote 170, S 386, 4/27/09]
REPUBLICANS DESERT AMERICA’S MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM
Republicans Delayed Passage of the War Supplemental Bill, Seeking to Block Funds for the Nation’s Troops. Republicans forced a cloture vote on the bill that appropriated $91.3 billion in emergency supplemental funds for fiscal 2009, including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and pandemic flu preparations. [Senate Vote 200, HR 2346, 5/21/09]
In a Time of Two Wars, Republicans Twice Delayed Passage of the Defense Authorization Bill. The conference report authorized $680.2 billion in discretionary funding for defense programs in fiscal 2010, including approximately $130 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other operations. [Senate Vote 233, S 1390, 7/16/09; Senate Vote 326, HR 2647, 10/22/09]
Republicans Sought to Block the Confirmation of the Ambassador to Iraq. Republicans forced a cloture vote on the nomination of Christopher Hill to be Ambassador Hill. [Senate Vote 158, 4/20/09]
The Senate GOP Put a Hold on Fellow Republican John McHugh to be Army Secretary.
“McHugh’s confirmation — initially viewed as routine — was held up for more than a month by Republican U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, of Kansas. The senators tied up several of Obama’s appointees to the Defense and Justice departments.” [The Post-Standard, 9/16/09]
REPUBLICANS DELAY AND BLOCK NOMINEES
Republicans Continue to Stall Obama Administration Nominees. Currently, the Senate has confirmed 367 of President Obama’s nominees – that’s less than the past two administrations had gotten confirmed by this point in their administrations. By the end of October, President Bush had 421 nominees confirmed; President Clinton had 379 confirmed. [Senate Nominations, accessed 11/3/09 <http://senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/a_three_sections_with_teasers/nominations.htm> ]
56 Nominees Are Currently Pending on the Executive Calendar, Many Held Up for Purely Political Purposes. Currently, 56 nominees to the Obama Administration are pending on the Executive calendar. As the Washington Post noted, many of these holds have little to nothing to do with the job the nominee is will be doing. For example, Republican Senator Bunning is holding up the Deputy US Trade Representative nominee over a tobacco bill in Canadian Parliament. Senator Bond is holding up the nominee “to head the General Services Administration, because the agency has been balking at constructing a $175 million federal building for Kansas City. Johnson’s nomination has been languishing on the Senate floor since June.” Senator Vitter is holding up a nominee to the “Environmental Protection Agency until the EPA agrees to delay issuing regulations on formaldehyde, which has been classified as a probable human carcinogen. The irony of Vitter’s hold is that one of the biggest potential problems with the chemical involves Hurricane Katrina survivors exposed to formaldehyde in FEMA trailers.” [Senate Executive Calendar, accessed 11/2/09 <http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/executive_calendar/xcalv.pdf> ; Ruth Marcus column, Washington Post, 10/7/09 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/06/AR2009100602836.html?nav=emailpage> ]