Democrats Offer Republicans a Lifeline on Unemployment Benefits

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Greg Sargent reports on the latest maneuvering over the extension of unemployment insurance benefits:

Senate Democrats are closing in on an agreement to pay for an 11-month extension of unemployment benefits with spending cuts that would not go into effect for at least a decade, sources tell me. This would probably be acceptable to liberals, because it would sustain a lifeline for the jobless right now, while pushing off any damage the “pay for” would do deep into the future.

There are two ways to look at this. The first and most obvious is that it’s ridiculous. Democrats are saying they want to spend $17 billion this year in return for $17 billion in cuts in 2023. I don’t really need to point out that nobody over the age of five believes those cuts will materialize a decade from now, do I?

But there’s a second, more congenial way of looking at this: as a lifeline for Republicans. They say they want UI benefits paid for. They also say they truly empathize with folks who have been out of work for a long time. Furthermore, they’re uneasy about their reputation for meanspiritedness and are looking for something that will soften their image. Et voilà! Here’s their solution. Sure, it’s basically sophistry, but no more so than most of what they do every day of their lives. And anyway, everyone knows that it makes no sense to pay for the UI extension in the first place.

So this is it: a way for Republicans to have their cake and nibble on it too. But I’ll bet they don’t bite.

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate