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Jim Worth Headshot

The Fools on the Hill

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There are some things that must be passed during this Lame Duck Session and one of them is extending unemployment benefits for the millions of people who can't find jobs. Many have been out of work for 99 weeks.

The House missed extending unemployment benefits by one vote on Thursday, November 18. Just one compassionate vote would have allowed Tier V benefits to those whose insurance runs out on November 30th.

The number of Americans collecting benefits for six months or more continues at record levels. And with unemployment steady at 9.6 percent, there are five or six people seeking employment for every job that becomes available. This makes it almost impossible to find a job in the current market.

Despite these unprecedented employment dynamics the House was unable to continue assistance for hundreds of thousands frustrated job hunters in this country.

Who would be callous enough to cut-off benefits for over a million families before the holidays?

One hundred fifty-four Representatives, safe in their own taxpayer protected wombs, voted against the extension that would allow millions a little dignity through the holidays. Twenty-two did not vote. Anyone of them could have helped pass the extension.

Representative's Ed Royce and Gary Miller we're among the 144 Republicans that voted against discouraged and struggling Americans.

What would possess individuals who created this financial morass to hold Americans hostage by withholding unemployment benefits? Especially when unemployment is a major problem in the U.S.

My two California representatives, they are part of the problem rather than being a part of the solution.

The culprits denying much needed help for those struggling in a dead economy decry higher taxes for the wealthy. Raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans is a 'real' solution that would lower the deficit by $70 billion each year. Yet Republicans are holding unemployment benefits up to force Democrats to cave in to extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Joining Royce and Miller on the UnAmerican side of the vote are the usual suspects -- many of them from states with high unemployment: Paul Ryan (7.8%), Michelle Bachmann (7.0%), Mike Pence (10.1%), Marsha Blackburn (9.4%), John Boehner (10.0%), Joe Miller (11.0%) and Joe Barton (8.1%).

Dispassionate Californians like David Drier, Darrell Issa, Dana Rohrabacher, Dan Lundgren, and others are an embarrassment to California where unemployment has remained over 12% for 15 straight months.

Tier V, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuance Act, would add $12.5 billion to the budget -- all of which would be put back into the economy to purchase necessities as soon as it was received.

A spokesman for Representative Royce explained that he was concerned there were no off-sets to fund the extensions so that it would not add to the deficit.

Utter and unbelievable hypocrisy from a Congressional member of the Financial Services Committee who doesn't equate that extending the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans will add $70 billion to the deficit annually. The Republicans want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest without any off-sets.

Hypocrisy from a member of Congress who voted for the unfunded and unending Iraq War that has cost taxpayers nearly a trillion dollars; dollars that could put millions of hard-working Americans to work at $30,000 to $40,000 per year. A member of Congress who voted for the unfunded Medicare Part D which is costing $500 billion dollars annually and included the infamous donut hole, one of the most ignorant insertions into legislation in our history.

Royce and Miller's votes during their time in office are responsible for the financial quagmire we are in. They have been no help in the recovery and their puerile posturing continues to drag down the global economy and casts millions more Americans into poverty every year.

Now they're holding the unemployed's money hostage to give more to the rich. That's right, it is your money they are trying to keep from you, the money you put into unemployment insurance from your hard-earned checks every week of your working lives.

It's time Royce, Miller, and their colleagues-in-crime reevaluate their positions honestly. It's time they're held accountable. It's time they told the truth about their agenda -- an agenda that is anti middle-class and pro rich.

If they are incapable of doing the right thing for America, then it's time the electorate in the 40th and 42nd Districts of California, and districts all over the country, find representatives that will.

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