Politifact has a good article that overviews the current situation regarding getting an unemployment extention bill passed through the Senate. The sticking point for those swing republican votes that would get it over the 60 vote hump is paying for the extension in advance. Harry Reid and the Democrats know this, and (as the Politifact article specifically talks to) Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell actually offered to get support behind it if the money came from cuts elsewhere, or from some money still sitting in the stimulus pool.
I will say, I feel strange saying this… both because this is Mitch McConnell, one of the most glaringly hyper partisan politicians out there, and because this is likely to be more about a good talking point than anything else… but he’s got the right idea here.
The stimulus is jam packed with pet projects and spending that isn’t very economically stimulating in nature. It makes a whole lot of sense to pull some money out of that pool, to redirect it into a very stimulative unemployment extension.
Democrats are both loathe to do anything that the right suggests because of election years politics, and are a lot more comfortable with digging ourselves into a deeper fiscal hole to fund this unemployment extension.
Its telling that Democrats are more concerned with partisanship than they are getting money into the hand of literally the people who most need it in this economy. They need to wake up and smell reality. They don’t have total control of the Senate, and its going to get worse come next year. They need to start learning to compromise. If they can’t even on a common sense issue like this… it does not bode well for how things might go next year.
Its ridiculous that he Dems are willing to let these people flounder by not compromising. How many tens of thousands are going to lose their homes, cars, go hungry, lose their insurance, and otherwise just get royally screwed because they wont suck it up and deal with the political reality?