With a vote of 58 to 38, Senate majority leader Harry Reid lost his bid for cloture on extending unemployment benefits to people who are jobless long term aka H.R. 4213 (American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 ).
By my count, this is the third time that Senators will have gone on a vacation without an agreement on extending those jobless benefits - the first time was Easter, the second just before Memorial Day, and now before the July 4th break.
The first time, just enough Republicans broke ranks to allow the plan to get through the Senate, but since then, GOP Senators have made clear they want offsetting budget cuts to pay for the extra spending, something Democrats have steadfastly refused to do.
And so, we have gridlock yet again.
Both parties blamed the other for the impasse, as Democrats said Republicans were punishing people who had lost jobs through no fault of their own, while GOP Senators said Democrats don't give a hoot about the skyrocketing level of government debt.
So, that is the problem in a nutshell, one that a very simple solution would bypass, except Harry Reid refused to consider it.
Via Washington Post:
The measure fell one vote shy of the 60 needed to end a Republican filibuster. Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) said he was prepared to provide that vote, but that Democrats had rejected his request to pay for at least half of the $34 billion measure with unspent funds from last year's stimulus package.
"Democrats are more interested in having this issue to demagogue for political gamesmanship than they are in simply passing the benefits extension," Voinovich, who is retiring, said in a statement. "I came to the table with a fair compromise and the ball is in their court."
While Democrats dropped much of the spending from the original bill, they still are not willing to pay for what they are spending, not understanding that you cannot keep spending when you do not have the money to pay for those expenditures.
But other Republicans -- as well as Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) -- continued to insist that at least a portion of the jobless benefits be paid for, arguing that the nation can no longer afford to add to record budget deficits.....
If Reid was hoping his home town newspapers would solely blame Republicans so he could demagogue the issue and use it for his political purposes without even handed reporting of the issue... he was mistaken.
Las Vegas Review Journal:
As in previous efforts, Democrats considered the $33.9 billion benefits package emergency spending that does not need to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere under a "pay-as-you-go" budget law.
That was a problem for most Republicans, who were largely united in opposition. The GOP argues that new federal spending that's not offset deepens the federal budget deficit at a time the government is ringing up record debt.
"The only reason the unemployment extension hasn't passed is because Democrats simply refused to pass a bill that does not add to the debt. That's it," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Recent polling, via Gallup, shows that the federal deficit ranks up there with terrorism as the most worrisome issue for Americans:
Terrorism and federal government debt tie as the most worrisome issues to Americans when they consider threats to the future well being of the U.S. Four in 10 Americans call each an "extremely serious" threat, with healthcare costs ranking a close third.
Terrorism and federal debt tie with 40 percent ranking it extremely serious and 39 percent ranking it very serious.
Democrats thinking they can blare headlines with Republicans won't extend jobless benefits, assuming the public is too stupid to look into the story to see that it is Democrats that refuse to pay for their agenda, will find out that people are truly worried about the debt and expect any programs that include massive spending, to be paid for.