Senate Republicans (with the help of one Democrat, Ben Nelson) have continued their filibuster of the Democrats’ jobs bill, mustering the 41 votes needed on Thursday to prevent the bill from passage. Republican obstructionism will ultimately spell the end of extended unemployment benefits for millions, even as the economy is nowhere near creating significant job growth.
On top of that, failure to pass the bills means states will not receive the much-needed $23 billion to pay for sharply rising Medicaid costs. (The great recession has swelled the ranks of those eligible for health insurance through Medicaid.) Without this money, states will be forced to impose even greater cut backs, which will mean lost jobs for teachers and other state employees.
Republicans say they oppose the bill on the grounds that it raises the deficit, but what they really oppose are the small tax increases (such as one on hedge fund managers) that would be used to pay for the bill. Disappointingly, the NY Times notes that the “Obama administration has not fought aggressively for the legislation.” It appears the President is not focusing on jobs, which should be his highest priority.