As the Senate returned Monday from Christmas break, Democrats immediately began a push for extended unemployment benefits,
and Fox News Channel's senior political analyst Brit Hume said that proves President Barack Obama's failure to reboot the struggling economy.
Republicans have said they would agree to a three-month extension of benefits if there are offsets to fund the expected $6 billion price tag. Due to weather keeping some lawmakers from making it back to Washington, the vote has been delayed until Tuesday morning.
Embedded in the Democratic action, Hume said Monday on "Special Report,"
is "an extraordinary acknowledgement of failure by the president and his party."
Obama has often noted he inherited a bad economy, but 4 ½ years into an economic recovery the job market remains so weak and unemployment so high that Obama considers it an "emergency," Hume said.
Obama set two goals for his first term, Hume noted: revive the economy and reform healthcare.
"The Obamacare mess tells us where we are on one. The call for further unemployment payments tells us where we are on the other," he said.
Some fear that if Republicans don't go along they will hand Democrats an election-year issue in which the GOP will be portrayed as heartless to people who are struggling to find work. Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard was not among those sharing that fear.
Republicans need to make the moral case that unemployment that "goes on forever" leads to more unemployment, Hayes argued during the panel discussion segment of the program.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer agreed.
"If you subsidize apples you get more apples. And if you subsidize unemployment you get more unemployment," he said. Krauthammer argued that he wasn't saying people are lazy, but that when they have choices they might turn down a job they don't really like since they can continue receiving unemployment pay.
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