House GOP blocks bill to extend jobless benefits - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

House GOP blocks bill to extend jobless benefits

WASHINGTON – Republicans in the House Thursday blocked a bill that would have extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed beyond the holiday season.

An extension of jobless benefits enacted this summer expires Dec. 1, and unless they are renewed, two million people will lose benefits averaging $310 a week nationwide by the end of December.

The failed measure would have extended jobless benefits through the end of February at a cost of adding $12.5 billion to the nation's debt. Republicans opposing the legislation said the measure should be paid for by cutting unspent money from last year's economic stimulus bill.

The White House criticized Congress for failing to renew unemployment benefits with the holiday break approaching.

"I don't think we want to leave here having fought for tax cuts for millionaires and against unemployment insurance for those that have lost their jobs," spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Democrats brought the measure to the floor under fast-track rules that required a two-thirds vote to pass, so the measure fell despite winning a 258-154 majority. Republicans blasted the move since it denied them an opportunity to try to offset its cost.

"The fact is, we can both provide this help and pay for it by cutting less effective stimulus spending," said Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La. "That's what we should be debating today."

Efforts to renew federally paid jobless benefits for people who have been out of work for more than half a year has bedeviled Congress for much of the year.

Every recession since 1950 has featured an extended federal benefits program financed with deficit dollars. That's a precedent Democrats refused to break when battling with Republicans for months earlier this year to extend the program.

Republicans didn't pay any political price for stalling efforts earlier this year to extend jobless benefits that provide critical help to the unemployed — including a seven-week stretch over the summer when jobless benefits were a piece of a failed Democratic tax and jobs bill.

But allowing benefits to expire in the holiday season may draw negative attention to Republicans, especially when measured against their insistence that tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers not be allowed to expire.

"We have never cut off benefits for out-of-work Americans where the unemployment rates have been this high," said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. "Without this extension, temporary federal extended benefits will shut down ... denying benefits to two million of our fellow citizens over the holiday season."

Senate Democrats say they have no plans to bring the measure up as a stand-alone bill, but efforts to renew benefits are likely to get drawn into negotiations over taxes and other important year-end legislation.

"We will continue to work for an emergency short-term extension to get families through the holidays," promised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • 'Crazy Rich Asians' shines bright at the box office

    'Crazy Rich Asians' shines bright at the box office

    Sunday, August 19 2018 11:37 AM EDT2018-08-19 15:37:04 GMT
    Sunday, August 19 2018 7:49 PM EDT2018-08-19 23:49:03 GMT
    (Sanja Bucko/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP). This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Constance Wu in a scene from the film "Crazy Rich Asians."(Sanja Bucko/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP). This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Constance Wu in a scene from the film "Crazy Rich Asians."

    Glitz has won out over guns at the North American box office this weekend as the gilded romance "Crazy Rich Asians" took No. 1 over Mark Wahlberg's action-packed "Mile 22".

    Glitz has won out over guns at the North American box office this weekend as the gilded romance "Crazy Rich Asians" took No. 1 over Mark Wahlberg's action-packed "Mile 22".

  • Science Says: Hotter weather turbocharges US West wildfires

    Science Says: Hotter weather turbocharges US West wildfires

    Sunday, August 19 2018 11:27 AM EDT2018-08-19 15:27:02 GMT
    Sunday, August 19 2018 7:48 PM EDT2018-08-19 23:48:38 GMT
    (AP Photo/Noah Berger). FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2018 file photo, firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire near Ladoga, Calif. The years with the most acres burned by wildfires have some of the hot...(AP Photo/Noah Berger). FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2018 file photo, firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire near Ladoga, Calif. The years with the most acres burned by wildfires have some of the hot...

    An AP analysis finds a clear connection between warmer temperatures out west and more land burned by wildfires.

    An AP analysis finds a clear connection between warmer temperatures out west and more land burned by wildfires.

  • Lawton teen competes in 2018 Junior NBA World Championship

    Lawton teen competes in 2018 Junior NBA World Championship

    Sunday, August 19 2018 7:41 PM EDT2018-08-19 23:41:24 GMT
    14-year-old Arzhonte Dallas (Source KSWO).14-year-old Arzhonte Dallas (Source KSWO).
    14-year-old Arzhonte Dallas (Source KSWO).14-year-old Arzhonte Dallas (Source KSWO).

    A Lawton teen is living out his dreams of being a professional basketball player at the 2018 Junior NBA World Championship.

    A Lawton teen is living out his dreams of being a professional basketball player at the 2018 Junior NBA World Championship.

Powered by Frankly