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November 16, 2002

House GOP to Unemployed- Drop Dead

Having passed a miniscule 5-week extension of unemployment benefits, the House GOP has said that if the Senate passed a more generous bill, they won't consider it.

a spokesman for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois said the House had no intention of considering the Senate unemployment plan. "We're done, we're closed up," said the spokesman, John Feehery. "Why don't they do ours?"

Three Republican senators Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Peter G. Fitzgerald of Illinois joined Democrats to push for added unemployment benefits. They argued that the House version was too stingy, given the economy's continuing struggles. They said their plan would cover two million people nationwide through March while the House approach would take in only 800,000 through January.

If the House and the Senate cannot agree, then extended benefits those beyond the standard 26 weeks will expire for thousands on Dec. 28. "It would be unconscionable," Mr. Specter said, "for the Congress to adjourn without taking care of so many people who are unemployed with the economic downturn that has resulted from Sept. 11."

If progressives want an issue to pound mercilessly, it is this one. Rather than negotiate a compromise with moderate Republicans in the Senate, the House GOP prefers to leave millions of people with no income on January 1st.

If progressives and Democrats don't pound the hell out of the GOP on this issue, it just shows they deserved to lose on November 5.

Posted by Nathan at November 16, 2002 04:37 AM

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Let's look at this w/r/t elections:
1) Fitzgerald is naturally a conservative; his support suggests that, as one would have guessed after this past election, his Illinois seat is looking very vulnerable. (of course, as a rich guy with one of the vulnerable GOP seats, expect BIG $$$ to rain into Illinois on Fitzgerald's behalf).
2) Same w/r/t Specter, except it isn't nearly as clear that his support is unprincipled as it is with Fitzgerald.
3) Smith remains a truly moderate GOPer, and thus of note on regulatory and fiscal issues.

But on the other hand. . . .
a) Chafee is staying on the reservation for the foreseeable future and
b) the ease of Collins' win has convinced both Mainer GOPers that they are safe remaining loyal GOPers.

Since none of the three GOPers on the unemployment issue are likely votes against, say, Gonzales for SCOTUS. . . . buy, the tea leaves are NOT looking good on judicial appointments.

Posted by: Jeff at November 17, 2002 11:44 AM

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