To no one’s surprise Republicans continued their scortched earth policy by using obstructionist tactics to filibuster yet another soon to be law. And who was their target this time? The small business owners and the unemployed, their favorite kick me while I’m down targets.
What exactly does this bill contain that the GOP finds so offensive:
The biggest and most important item is the extension of unemployment insurance. This comes in a few different parts: One part extends the insurance programs that deal with the long-term unemployed. Another extends the $25 boost to unemployment insurance checks that we’ve had in place since the beginning of the recession. And a third allows workers who find part-time work but need full-time work to remain eligible for some unemployment benefits.
Then there’s the extension of the federal government’s program to help states pay for Medicaid costs. During recessions, more people need Medicaid, which increases the program’s cost, but state revenues drop, which reduces their ability to pay for the program. So the federal government, which can run temporary deficits, steps in and increases the share of the program’s costs that it pays. This bill extends that program. The bill also includes another temporary fix to Medicare’s doctor payments.
The bill also has a raft of tax cuts and investments, including billions for the Small Business Administration to offer more loans to small businesses, bonds to fund infrastructure development, money to encourage private-sector R&D. and more. A full list of the bill’s provisions, and its subsequent modifications, can be found here.
And for those of you fiscal “chicken” hawks out there who are screaming about the deficit at the top of their lungs, the only portion of the bill that would have added to the deficit is the $30 billion in unemployment benefits, with the rest of it being paid through various other channels.
So in the end, Republicans interfered with another law’s passage because it would have increased the deficit by 0000001%