Sunday, January 5, 2014

88,000 Floridians lost their unemployment benefits on Saturday

Posted By on Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 12:34 PM

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Approximately 88,000 unemployed Floridians (and a total of 1.3 million Americans nationwide) lost their unemployment benefits over the weekend, and it appears as though the only way that Republicans might agree to a deal with Congressional Republicans to extend those benefits will be to find somewhere to cut $26 billion from the federal budget.

That was the take from two House Republicans who appeared on CBS' Face The Nation on Sunday, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pleaded for four Senate Republicans to join Nevada's Dean Heller in agreeing to a plan without making cuts somewhere else.

"This is typical for Republican members of Congress. Not Republicans, but Republican members of Congress. The vast majority of American people feel unemployment benefits should be extended," Reid told Face host Bob Schieffer on Sunday.

On Monday the Senate will vote on a measure sponsored by Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller and Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed.

Heller may be the only Senate Republican that is a sure vote for the measure. If only just the Democrats and independents support the extension it won't pass.

Reid, always prone to bruising feelings with his extremely blunt discourse, hammered congressional Republicans while emphasizing that he really did like every other Republican who lived outside of the District of Columbia.

"Republicans around the country want us to do something in extending benefits. Why? Because it's good for the economy. It's good for the country," he said, adding that's why polls show the majority of the country also supports an increase in the federal minimum wage law.

Unemployed Americans will get just 26 weeks of state-paid unemployment insurance unless Congress extends the federal program that was enacted in 2008 at the height of the recession when unemployment soared.

2013 was one of the least productive sessions of Congress in American history. Reid says it's up to Republicans to reverse that trend in 2014. "Unless the Republicans in Congress decide they should do something for the Americans people. I'm sorry to say that's true."

Reid said GOP obstructionism is what caused him to change the rules this past year on filibusters, and said "We cannot have a country that is paralyzed because of a group of people who are Tea Party driven Republicans in Congress. Not Republicans. I'm not here to badmouth Republicans around the country. I've gotten a lot of support from Republicans in Nevada and always have. But they're mainstream Republicans. They're not driven by this craziness that we have in America today."

And Reid pleaded that he could get four more Republicans to join Heller and the Democrats in passing the unemployment extension. "Gee whiz," he sighed.

But Arizona Republican Congressman Matt Salmon said later in the show that if Reid was able to come up with "any sensible idea" on how to offset the $26 billion it will cost to extend the unemployment benefits than he might be willing to negotiate.

But Salmon said the Democrats could do more to create jobs, such as supporting the XL Keystone Pipeline.

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