Another day in the Senate and yet another day of lackadaisical musings, debates, and speeches from senators who seem unaware of their sauntering and sluggish approach to passing an extension to unemployment benefits provision in the current American Jobs and Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (which is called by various other names, like the Tax Extenders Bill and the Unemployment Extension Bill). C-Span’s coverage of the day began with House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) couching the unemployment benefits extension bill in terms that his fellow Republicans understand and making a small joke, calling the measure the “H. R. 4213 Deficit Extenders Act.”
After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took to the floor and made an appeal for his fellow senators to “do the right thing” and pass the latest revision of the tax and benefits extension act, the Senate Minority Leader stood and reiterated the same lines about deficit spending, national debt, and increased taxes the united Republicans have stated for the past several months. Senator Mitch McConnell also charged Democrats with not wanting to pass alternative pieces of legislation, stating Democrats only wished to pass something that would increase the federal deficit.
As can be seen on C-Span, Senator McConnell spent just a little over a minute on the Unemployment Extension Bill before moving on to other matters…
But what Senator McConnell does not mention is the failings of all of the various pieces of legislation, regardless of the numbers that they do or do not add to the national debt. He also does not mention that the Republican stance has been a complete stonewall to anything that the Democrats have proposed thus far, even though the Democrats have pared the overall bill down considerably in efforts to reach a compromise. As late as Wednesday, Democrats were working on cutting the Medicaid provision, which is designed to alleviate the burden of Medicaid assistance burdens on the individual states. And although Republicans have helped cut and pare, the last call for cloture ended in a unanimous vote of “no” for the Republicans.
Political systems depend on diplomacy, politicking, and willingness to compromise — something the current group of Republican senators seem unwilling to do.
It is certain that Senator Mitch McConnell is a standing-room-only sellout at the comedy clubs, but it is doubtful that the Kentucky Republican would elicit so much as a small giggle out of the millions of people that are currently awaiting the Senate to come to some sort of agreement on the “Deficit Extenders Act” and extend until November the unemployment benefits those same millions rely on to pay their basic bills and pay their rents and mortgages. In just the month of June, an estimated 1.2 million people nationwide have and will find their unemployment benefits suspended. In Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, the unemployment rate stand at 10.4%, with nearly 216,000 people out of work. Thousands have and will lose their eligibility throughout June and the coming weeks as well.
But Senator Mitch McConnell can afford to make ideological jokes about legislation that means so much to so many. He is one of the Senate’s many millionaires and can very well afford to stand steadfast on ideological points. He also has nearly five more years before his current senatorial term is over, so he is relatively safe from the ire of his unemployed constituents.
The good citizens of the state of Kentucky may want to consider a process known as referendum and recall.
Now that would be amusing…
“Senate Session, June 24, 2010,” C Span Television