Extended unemployment benefits “will temporarily expire for thousands of Americans on Monday because the Senate went on its spring recess without approving a one-month deadline extension,” CNN reports.
The extension, which had bipartisan support, would have cost about $10 billion, but a lone Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn, said no until the costs are offset.
The Oklahoma senator objected to a commonly used unanimous-consent agreement to pass the bill under emergency conditions, even if it increases the federal deficit. Coburn wants to eliminate additional government spending to pay for the bill.
"The legitimate debate is whether we borrow and steal from our kids or we get out of town and send the bill to our kids for something that we’re going to consume today," Coburn said on the Senate floor.
It should also be noted, on balance, that Democrats objected to passage of a bill to extend unemployment benefits that was paid for by unspent stimulus funds.
The President’s position:
Asked whether President Obama believes that the benefits extension should be paid for, Lawrence Summers, one of Obama’s top economic advisers, said, "He believes that in an emergency, families who are depending on unemployment insurance to buy medicine for their kids should not have that unemployment insurance cut off."
"We believe that we need to approach these issues in their totality, with a fiscal framework that assures that we are getting to a much lower budget deficit," Lawrence, the head of the National Economic Council, said Sunday on CNN’s "State of the Union."
Senate inaction also “means lapses in funding for COBRA, Medicare payments to doctors and the National Flood Insurance Program, among other things.”
(credit image – associated press)