Unemployment Extension Offer Leaves Out Budget Cuts

Image: Unemployment Extension Offer Leaves Out Budget Cuts Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Friday, 09 May 2014 12:37 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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An offer from Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez to negotiate an extension for unemployment and "job creation" measures is not what U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner was hoping for.

The U.S. Senate passed an extension for unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed earlier this year. Boehner is concerned that the bill did not come with supporting budget cuts that the majority of House members want, according to Roll Call.

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"Secretary Perez, and the entire Obama administration, have been aware of House Republicans' position on this issue since December of last year: We need a fiscally responsible package that also helps to create more private-sector jobs," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told Roll Call. "This letter — once again — does not include such a plan."

Perez said in his letter to Boehner that nearly 3 million people have been affected by the ending of long-term unemployment benefits and an extension would help them put money back into the economy.

"Since the December 2013 deadline came and went, almost 2.6 million people, including more than 70,000 in Ohio, have been stripped of unemployment benefits that help them keep the lights on, rent paid, and family fed," Perez said in his letter.

"All too many long-term unemployed are making painful choices between these critical necessities. With each passing week of inaction on this issue, an additional 70,000 Americans looking for work exhaust unemployment insurance without having found a job," the letter continued.

As tensions rose, House Democrats claimed that House Republicans would not give them a meeting room Tuesday for a hearing on unemployment benefits, according to the National Journal.

Alexandra Sollberger, the House Education and the Workforce Committee spokeswoman, said that Democrats asked for a members-only room, only to change their request abruptly before their hearing to accommodate the media.

"At the last minute, the Democrats changed significantly the format of their event that no longer complies with the terms to which they originally agreed," Sollberger told the National Journal. "At no time did we deny their request to hold an event. In fact, we have communicated to Democrat staff that we are more than willing to accommodate the event they now wish to hold. All they have to do is ask."

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