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In its first substantive action since Christmas, the House authorized still more money for unemployment benefits.

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House Extends Unemployment Benefits

In its first substantive action since Christmas, the House authorized still more money for unemployment benefits.

On Feb. 4, 2004, by a vote of 227 to 179, the House, in its first substantive action since returning from the lengthy Christmas recess, voted in favor of an amendment to the Community Services Block Grant Act of 2003 (H.R. 3030) to authorize still more money for unemployment benefits, which have been repeatedly extended since 2001.

In fact, the amendment had nothing to do with the bill in question. Nonetheless, Democrats saw it as a political opportunity to inveigh against President Bush, who has presided over a weak economy since his inauguration in 2001. They had the help of 39 turncoat Republicans, some of whom, facing tough elections, did not wish to rock the political boat by voting against an extension of the program that pays people to not work. Among them was Rep. Richard Burr (R.-N.C.), who is running for Senate.

Democrats gleefully and unanimously backed the amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D.-Calif.). Although much of their rhetoric was about helping working Americans, they were pushing a program that helps non-working Americans only, and actually forces working Americans to pay them not to work. The program also provides a strong disincentive to find a job until benefits expire, especially since Congress keeps extending them on a regular basis.

“I urge my colleagues to support the Miller amendment which would extend unemployment benefits for the two million unemployed Americans whose benefits have run out,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D.-N.Y.). “Almost daily, my office hears from those Americans who are afraid of losing their homes or having to take their children out of school and simply being unable to meet their obligations. We owe it to them to give them some help until a job can be found for them.”

Various analyses, however, have shown that unemployment benefits often delay the coming if the economic incentive for unemployed workers to find jobs, thus inflating unemployment figures.

“Over 2.9 million jobs lost, versus 1,000 gained last month, ” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D.-Md.). “That is a zero-sum gain,” he continued, apparently not knowing what that phrase means. Also, since then, the job-creation figures, as predicted, have increased appreciably.

Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio), urging some fiscal discipline from the Congress, spoke against the extension. “Last March, this Congress provided $8 billion additional to the states for the extension of unemployment benefits, $8 billion,” said Boehner. “If you look at nearly two years since Congress provided this $8 billion in federal funds, states have spent less than half of this to assist unemployed workers. A total of 45 states still have some of their share of the original $8 billion. 31 states, 31 states still have over 90% of the money that Congress allocated to them still in their accounts today.”

Boehner also pointed out that the bill at hand was not an appropriate vehicle for an amendment to extend unemployment benefits.

Conservative Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R.-Ariz.) pointed out that government handouts are not a good way of encouraging compassion. “If you measure compassion by the number of people who stay on unemployment, I think that is a curious standard, ” said Hayworth. “Compassion is not measured by the number of people who remain on unemployment and collect those checks. True compassion is measured by the number of people who leave unemployment and find real, rewarding jobs. ”

A “yes “vote was a vote for an amendment to authorize the extension of unemployment benefits. A “no ” vote was a vote against the amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT: 227 AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: 179
REPUBLICANS FOR: 39
Boehlert
Burns
Burr
Camp
Capito
Emerson
English
Fossella
Goode
Green (WI)
Hayes
Johnson (IL)
Jones (NC)
Kelly
King (NY)
LaTourette
Leach
LoBiondo
McCotter
Miller (MI)
Murphy
Nethercutt
Ney
Peterson (PA)
Quinn
Rogers (MI)
Saxton
Shays
Shimkus
Simmons
Smith (NJ)
Sweeney
Taylor (NC)
Turner (OH)
Upton
Walden (OR)
Walsh
Weldon (PA)
Wilson (NM)

DEMOCRATS FOR: 187
Abercrombie
Ackerman
Alexander
Allen
Andrews
Baca
Baird
Baldwin
Ballance
Becerra
Bell
Berkley
Berman
Berry
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Blumenauer
Boswell
Boucher
Boyd
Brady (PA)
Brown,
Brown (OH)
Capps
Capuano
Cardin
Cardoza
Carson (IN)
Carson (OK)
Case
Clay
Clyburn
Cooper
Corrine
Costello
Cramer
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (AL)
Davis (CA)
Davis (FL)
Davis (IL)
Davis (TN)
DeFazio
Delahunt
DeLauro
Deutsch
Dingell
Doggett
Dooley (CA)
Doyle
Edwards
Emanuel
Engel
Eshoo
Etheridge
Evans
Farr
Fattah
Filner
Ford
Frank (MA)
Frost
Gonzalez
Gordon
Green (TX)
Grijalva
Harman
Hastings (FL)
Hill
Hinchey
Hinojosa
Hoeffel
Holden
Hollen
Holt
Honda
Hooley (OR)
Hoyer
Inslee
Israel
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Jefferson
John
Johnson, E. B.
Jones (OH)
Kanjorski
Kaptur
Kennedy (RI)
Kildee
Kilpatrick
Kind
Kleczka
Lampson
Lantos
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lofgren
Lowey
Lucas (KY)
Lynch
Majette
Maloney
Markey
Marshall
Matheson
Matsui
McCarthy (NY)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McIntyre
McNulty
Meehan
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Menendez
Michaud
Miller, George
Miller (NC)
Mollohan
Moore
Moran (VA)
Murtha
Nadler
Neal (MA)
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Owens
Pallone
Pastor
Payne
Pelosi
Peterson (MN)
Pomeroy
Price (NC)
Rangel
Reyes
Rodriguez
Ross
Rothman
Roybal-Allard
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sabo
S√?∆? ¬°nchez, Linda
Sanchez, Loretta
Sandlin
Schakowsky
Schiff
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Sherman
Skelton
Slaughter
Snyder
Solis
Spratt
Stark
Stenholm
Strickland
Stupak
Tanner
Tauscher
Taylor (MS)
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Towns
Turner (TX)
Udall (CO)
Udall (NM)
Van
Vel√?∆? ¬°zquez
Visclosky
Waters
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Wexler
Woolsey
Wu
Wynn

INDEPENDENTS FOR: 1
Sanders

REPUBLICANS AGAINST: 179
Aderholt
Akin
Bachus
Baker
Ballenger
Barrett (SC)
Bartlett (MD)
Barton (TX)
Bass
Beauprez
Bereuter
Biggert
Bilirakis
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blunt
Boehner
Bonilla
Bonner
Bono
Boozman
Bradley (NH)
Brady (TX)
Brown (SC)
Burgess
Burton (IN)
Buyer
Cannon
Cantor
Carter
Castle
Chabot
Chocola
Coble
Cole
Collins
Cox
Crane
Crenshaw
Cubin
Cunningham
Davis, Jo Ann
Davis, Tom
Deal (GA)
DeLay
DeMint
Diaz-Balart,
Diaz-Balart,
Doolittle
Dreier
Duncan
Dunn
Ehlers
Everett
Feeney
Ferguson
Flake
Foley
Forbes
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gerlach
Gibbons
Gilchrest
Gillmor
Gingrey
Goodlatte
Graves
Greenwood
Gutknecht
Hall
Harris
Hart
Hastert
Hastings (WA)
Hayworth
Hefley
Hensarling
Herger
Hobson
Hoekstra
Hostettler
Houghton
Hulshof
Hunter
Hyde
Isakson
Issa
Istook
Jenkins
Johnson, Sam
Johnson (CT)
Keller
Kennedy (MN)
King (IA)
Kingston
Kirk
Kline
Knollenberg
Kolbe
L.
LaHood
Latham
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (KY)
M.
Manzullo
McKeon
Mica
Miller, Gary
Miller (FL)
Moran (KS)
Musgrave
Myrick
Neugebauer
Northup
Norwood
Nunes
Nussle
Osborne
Ose
Otter
Oxley
Paul
Pearce
Pence
Petri
Pickering
Pitts
Platts
Pombo
Porter
Portman
Pryce (OH)
Putnam
Radanovich
Ramstad
Regula
Rehberg
Renzi
Reynolds
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rohrabacher
Ros-Lehtinen
Royce
Ryan (WI)
Ryun (KS)
Schrock
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shadegg
Shaw
Sherwood
Shuster
Simpson
Smith (MI)
Smith (TX)
Souder
Stearns
Sullivan
Tancredo
Tauzin
Terry
Thomas
Thornberry
Tiahrt
Tiberi
Toomey
Vitter
Wamp
Weldon (FL)
Weller
Whitfield
Wicker
Wilson (SC)
Wolf
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

DEMOCRATS AGAINST: 0

NOT VOTING: 27

REPUBLICANS (10): DEMOCRATS (17): INDEPENDENTS (0)
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Calvert
Culberson
Goss
Granger
Linder
Lucas (OK)
McCrery
McHugh
McInnis
Conyers
DeGette
Dicks
Gephardt
Gutierrez
Kucinich
Langevin
Lipinski
McCarthy (MO)
Millender-McDonald
Napolitano
Ortiz
Pascrell
Rahall
Ruppersberger
Smith (WA)
Watson
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