Day: 2014.04.11

Something to Keep in Mind

“They have not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs. And so the ball’s still in their court.”

—Speaker John Boehner (R-OH8)

Speaker of the House John Boehner

Okay, time out.

Matt Fuller and J.M. Rieger explain the situation for Roll Call:

Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday it’s up to the White House to make a new proposal before he’ll consider an unemployment benefits extension, as the House left town for two weeks without acting on a bipartisan Senate bill.

The Senate’s passage of an unemployment benefits extension earlier this week doesn’t change the House’s stand on the issue, the Ohio Republican said Thursday morning.

Boehner said he had made it clear to the president in December that an unemployment insurance extension would “have to be paid for and would have to include things that would help get our economy moving.”

“They have not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs,” Boehner said. “And so the ball’s still in their court.”

Asked what package might persuade him to bring an extension to the floor for a vote, Boehner said, “You’ll have to ask the administration,” again blaming the White House for not coming forward with a jobs proposal.

Steve Benen would, of course, disagree with the Speaker:

Sometimes it seems as if politicians aren’t even speaking the same language anymore.

Benen on UnemploymentLook, there’s no reason for Boehner to be this confused. For decades, there was bipartisan and bicameral support for extending jobless benefits during periods of high unemployment. This year, Republicans changed the rules of the game, making new demands that were considered ridiculous as recently as 2010, but Democrats nevertheless played along. It’s why the Senate approved a bill that’s paid for and, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would create 200,000 jobs this year.

Boehner says that’s not good enough. What would satisfy him? He either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to say – the Speaker instead told reporters yesterday that the unemployed might get relief when the White House correctly guesses what might make Boehner happy. It’s a policy debate with all the high-minded sophistication of kindergarten finger-painting.

And, well, yeah. Any questions? As Benen notes, It might be more amusing if there weren’t 3 million struggling Americans who need this legislation to keep their heads above water.

I would only advise Mr. Benen that Congressional Republicans are not trying to amuse him. Rather, they are busy trying to figure out how to hurt as many Americans as possible while calling it an act of love.


Fuller, Matt and J. M. Rieger. “Boehner Says Unemployment Extension Is Up to White House”. 218. April 10, 2014.

Benen, Steve. “How not to argue about jobless benefits”. MSNBC. April 11, 2014.

Image credit: Steve Benen.