Whatever reservations one might have about extending unemployment insurance yet again, to cope with the perpetual “emergency” of Barack Obama being President, it’s a pretty ugly example of partisan political gamesmanship to see the people clamoring for that extension simultaneously working to kill it. Such is the case with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who hornswaggled six Republican senators into voting for the bill, then used his standard dirty trick of “filling the amendment tree” to prevent them from offering amendments.
Reid does this a lot, which makes a little odd that any Republicans still fall for his hooey about “bipartisan cooperation.” Not only is Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown, but she then uses the football to beat him senseless, and drops Schroeder’s piano on his prone body for good measure.
Anyone working on theories about how Democrats want perpetual Obama-style economic paralysis to engineer a more obedient, dependent nation can begin with Harry Reid’s merciless procedural slaughter of every single pro-growth bill to emerge from the House. The media allows him to do this without saying a word about it, which most certainly is not how they would react if a Republican Senate Majority Leader was doing the same thing to bills from a Democrat House. Such a GOP leader would by now appear in school textbooks as history’s worst example of intransigence and gridlock. But Reid just throws everything into a ditch, and then reporters walk over that ditch and wonder why Republicans never seem to have any “jobs bills” to compete with Obama’s endless spending demands.
A few Republicans complained about the fate of the unemployment insurance bill to Buzzfeed on Thursday:
When Reid said at a Thursday afternoon press conference he was “cautiously optimistic,” that a long-term deal would soon be announced, what he came up with isn’t what Republicans had in mind.
“Sen. Reid announced today that he will obstruct ALL [sic] Republican amendments,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mitch McConnell, told BuzzFeed in an email. “It’s a real challenge to find a bipartisan accomplishment when one person shuts out the entire side of the aisle.”
“This is crassly political,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. “They want to have something to talk about on the Sunday morning programs.”
Fortunately, the people who run those Sunday programs can be counted on to avoid explaining what “filling the amendment tree” means to their viewers. It’s perfectly in keeping with Obama-era Democrat strategy to trot out a pet issue, feed it poison legislative pills until it keels over, and drop the corpse at Republican feet. The Low Information Voters fall for it every time.
And they’re not the only ones. Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) wailed, “The reason I voted for the motion to proceed was I thought we ought to have some input into this.” I hope Sen. Coats’ health plan includes coverage for concussions resulting from vigorous application of the clue bat. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the bipartisan celebration of the Murray-Ryan budget compromise, because it’s hangover time.
The most priceless quote in the Buzzfeed article, however, comes to us from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said of her caucus and the White House: “We’re all on the same page in passing unemployment insurance. We don’t think it should be paid for.” There’s a shocker. It’s even funnier if you remember all the Democrats bleating about their undying commitment to “pay as you go” budget control a few years ago.
There actually was a proposal to pay for extended unemployment insurance, described by Conn Carroll at Townhall.com:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) had signaled a willingness to work with Democrats on UI by breaking with her party earlier this week to give Democrats the 60 votes they needed to begin debate on the bill. But Ayotte wants a vote on her amendment that would not only pay for the UI extension, but also undo some of the veteran benefit cuts Congress agreed to last year.
Ayotte’s amendment would simply require anyone who wanted to participate in the Additional Child Tax Credit program to supply a Social Security number before they were allowed to collect any checks from the government. According to the Treasury Department, illegal immigrants collected $4.2 billion ACTC funds in 2011 alone.
According to Ayotte’s office, her amendment would save taxpayers more than $20 billion over ten years. That is more than enough to pay for the UI extension and undo some of the veteran benefits cuts made last year.
Require reasonable proof of identity to close off a loophole exploited by illegal aliens? In order to restore benefits for veterans? Are you mad, Senator Ayotte? Much better to hang poison fruit on every branch of the amendment tree, stall the bill, and let Democrats spend a weekend screaming about starving children while another few thousand jobs disappear. At all costs, we must avoid anything approaching an adult discussion about the effects of long, long, long-term unemployment coverage, or why it’s still necessary in the fifth year of Barack Obama’s miraculous “recovery.” As long as the proper postures are struck by liberals, who cares what happens to actual people, especially those who work hard and play by the rules?