Sen. Mitch McConnell has returned from Christmas, and is threatening to kill unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans unless he gets spending cuts.
The AP reported, “For the Senate to act would require a commitment from McConnell not to demand a 60-vote margin to consider the legislation on the Senate floor. McConnell’s office says it’s too early to make such an assessment because Obama’s plan is unclear on whether extended benefits for the unemployed would be paid for with cuts in other programs or on how it would deal with an expiring estate tax, among other issues.”
Through their own behavior, Republicans are revealing that their concern over the fiscal cliff is a total sham. Every year since 2010 midterm elections, congressional Republicans have demanded spending cuts in exchange for any unemployment benefits extension. At every opportunity, House and Senate Republicans threaten the economic survival of the unemployed. The fact that they have failed has not stopped Mitch McConnell from continuing to make unreasonable demands that are never going to happen.
Boehner and the House Republicans have lost their seat at the table, so it appears that they are trying to negotiate through McConnell.
McConnell’s demand has little to do with the deficit, and everything to do with ideology. Republicans view unemployment benefits as the cause of unemployment. People like McConnell believe that unemployment insurance takes away the incentive to work by making the unemployed lazy and dependent on government. (These people have obviously never tried to subsist on an unemployment check.)
Republicans believe that the unemployed would all run out and get jobs tomorrow if their earned benefit was taken away. It doesn’t matter to them that there beloved job creators long ago decided to increase their profits by not hiring, which means that there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available.
Sen. McConnell is trying to leverage the president’s concern for the unemployed into cuts for programs like food stamps, Medicare, and Medicaid.
The fiscal cliff has been and continues to be nothing more than a Republican construct that they intended to use a weapon against the social safety net.
We are about to go over the fiscal cliff because congressional Republicans are trying to play the same games that they have been playing for the last few years. Republicans are once again demonstrating that they don’t care about governing. They have no concern for the American people. The one and only priority for congressional Republicans is the imposition of their ideology through any means necessary.
This is the reason why Republicans created the fiscal cliff crisis, and it is also why their intention is to push the nation over the edge.