by Jim Nintzel
Talking Points Memo untangles the mess unfolding in the U.S. Senate over the expansion of unemployment benefits:
The push to revive jobless benefits for some 1.4 million long-term unemployed Americans is — still — going nowhere fast in the Senate, bogged down by a series of excruciating procedural hurdles and disputes.
The latest: Republicans filibustered two test votes on Tuesday, complaining that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wasn't playing fair on amendments. An 11-month extension that was paid for received 52 votes, short of the 60 senators needed to move forward. A second vote on a clean three-month extension won over 55 senators and was also blocked.
The Arizona Democratic Party blasts Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake for their opposition to an extension of the benefits for the long-term unemployed:
Senate Republicans such as John McCain and Jeff Flake have again turned their backs on American families. They have failed to extend an economic lifeline to millions of out of work Americans by refusing to restore federal unemployment benefits.
"This is another example of the misplaced priorities of Arizona Republicans,” said DJ Quinlan, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party. “Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake continue to oppose policies that are in the best interest of Arizonans and the American people.”
Republicans refusal to act prevented Congress from renewing unemployment benefits on Dec. 28th 2013, leaving 1.3 million Americans without this valuable and necessary aid. In Arizona 17,100 Arizonans lost their assistance on December 28-with an average weekly loss of $219.06. And an additional 22,500 more will lose benefits in the first half of 2014.
“The Republican Party continues to work to cut assistance to Americans who desperately need it while protecting tax breaks and loopholes for special interests,” said Quinlan. “Taking away unemployment insurance from over a million Americans who need assistance while they are searching for jobs proves whose side Republicans are really on."