Senate Democrats

Reid Spokesman: No Excuse For Republican Obstruction Of Unemployment Benefits

Washington, DCJim Manley, spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, released the following statement today in reaction Senator Bunning objecting to the extension of unemployment benefits again today. Today’s obstruction marks the tenth time in the last week that Republicans have blocked this extension of critical assistance to millions of out-of-work Americans:

“Senator Bunning’s claim that he’s simply being consistent on fiscal issues is hard to fathom. He had no problem voting for tax cuts for the wealthy and for two wars – both of which weren’t paid for. He voted against pay-go spending rules and against the establishment of a deficit commission. He has also, in the past, voted for the extension of unemployment benefits that are financed in the same way as this measure that he’s objecting to.

“One fact remains clear: Senator Bunning’s actions blocked critical funding to millions of out-of-work Americans and caused thousands of workers to be furloughed this week. There are no excuses for Senator Bunning to hold this funding hostage, and there is no explanation for the Republican leadership to remain silent on this issue.”

Bunning Claims Reid Pulled The Baucus-Grassley Bill From The Floor. Senator Bunning asserted that Senator Reid pulled the Baucus-Grassley bill, which included a 3-month extension of UI and Cobra, from the Senate floor. Speaking on the Baucus-Grassley proposal, Senator Bunning said, “(T)here were more provisions in the bill also. It cost a little more than the, the $10 billion that is asked for because it was a three-month extension. Senator Reid pulled that bill from the floor of the U.S. Senate. He did it. The Leader of the Democrats pulled that bill from the floor.” [Senate Floor, 3/1/10]

FACT: The Bill Was Never Offered On The Floor. The Baucus-Grassley proposal was never offered on the Senate floor.

Bunning Suggests He Would Have Supported The Baucus-Grassley Bill. At the end of his incorrect comments on the Baucus-Grassley bill, Senator Bunning seemed to suggest that he would have supported that bill and said, “I support extending unemployment benefits, COBRA benefits, flood insurance, highway bill fix, doc fix, small business loans, distant network television for satellite viewers.” [Senate Floor, 3/1/10]

FACT: The Baucus-Grassley Bill Did Not Offset The Cost Of Extending UI And COBRA. Just like the current legislation Democrats continue to ask unanimous consent to pass, the Baucus-Grassley proposal did not offset the cost of extending the UI and Cobra programs.

Bunning: Senate Must Abide By PAYGO Rules. Today on the Senate floor, Senator Bunning used PAYGO as an excuse to block the unemployment benefits extension. Senator Bunning said, “(L)ast week, well, now it’s a little past last week, we passed PAYGO. For those who don’t know what PAYGO is, it means you have to pay for everything that you bring before the senate, and you can’t charge it on the debt. You can’t charge it. That’s what PAYGO says. So understand that, I hope the American people understand my serious objections.” [Senate Floor, 3/1/10]

FLASHBACK: Bunning Voted Against the Reid PAYGO Amendment. Bunning joined his Republican colleagues in voting against the Reid Amendment to implement Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules. [S.V. 12, 1/28/10]