BREAKING: House Passes Jobs Bill, 217-201

The $15 billion jobs creation bill will now be sent to the President’s desk.

Thanks, Scott Brown!

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GOP To Unemployed: ‘Tough Sh*t’

So says GOP Sen. Jim Bunning, who is blocking an extension of unemployment benefits that would serve to benefit 1.2 million Americans:

Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: “Tough shit.”

Not only did Bunning kneecap America’s unemployed, he then had the gall to complain that his obstructionism caused him to miss–wait for it–a basketball game:

And at one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.

“I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00,” he said, “and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.

That’s the GOP for you–they got theirs, so they don’t care about anyone else.

Jim Bunning has a massive, taxpayer-funded salary, so he cares more about his basketball game than the 10.7% of Kentuckians who are unemployed.

Unemployed? Tough. Uninsured? Tough. Sorry, Republicans have basketball games to go to, they don’t have time for you and your problems.

But there is hope–Jim Bunning’s retiring. And, this year, we have a chance to replace him with someone who really cares about the people–Dr. Dan Mongiardo.

Senate Passes Jobs Bill

Thanks to newly-elected Senator Scott Brown, Democrats were able to pass a jobs bill through the Senate earlier today; the final vote was 70-28.

For your convenience, here are the 28 Senators who voted against putting Americans back to work:

Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Nelson (D-NE)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)

The Party Of No (Ideas) (UPDATED X2)

So, I had a post all set to go about the GOP’s Mount Vernon Statement, which is supposed to be the political blueprint for Republican success in November.

I was going to examine the 1994 Contract with America and point out how much of it the Republican Congress failed to pass, demonstrating how the GOP is long on making big election-year promises but short on delivering.

Problem is, I couldn’t do that. Why? Well, here’s the most substantive portion of the Mount Vernon Statement, which advocates:

A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.
  • It applies the principle of limited government based on the
    rule of law to every proposal.
  • It honors the central place of individual liberty in American
    politics and life.
  • It encourages free enterprise, the individual entrepreneur, and
    economic reforms grounded in market solutions.
  • It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom
    and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that
    end.
  • It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood,
    community, and faith.

Yup, there’s the much-hyped Mount Vernon Statement–a list of cliched talking points without a single concrete proposal.

Are they serious? They want us to vote for them based on nothing more than vague notions like “the central place of individual liberty” and “the individual entrepreneur?”

Concerned about health care? On one side we have President Obama and the Democrats, who worked for more than 6 months and put together a health care reform bill that will reduce the deficit, help middle-class families buy good insurance and cover 31 million uninsured Americans.

On the other side you have Republicans, who didn’t even think health care was important enough to include in their little manifesto.

Care about jobs and the economy? President Obama and the Democrats passed the recovery act, creating 1.6 million jobs (with another million on the way). They’re also working right now on a jobs bill that will put millions more Americans back to work.

The Republicans are offering nothing but talking points about “free enterprise,” “the individual entrepreneur” and “economic reforms grounded in market solutions,” whatever those mean. If you ask them what they’ve actually done to fix the economy and create jobs, you’ll get silence.

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The Recovery Act: One Year Later (UPDATED X2)

A year ago today, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act–also known as the economic stimulus package–went into effect.

And here’s all you need to know about it:

[Click for full-sized version]

But, what the heck, here’s some more info, just for kicks:

Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.

[Emphasis mine]

We know now that the right’s the-stimulus-has-failed touchdown dance was more than a little premature–while GOP was spiking the ball at the 5 yard line, President Obama and the Democrats were creating 2.5 million new jobs.

Yes, unemployment is still high. Yes, there aren’t enough jobs out there yet. But nobody can dispute now that the Recovery Act has put us back on the right track and has kept millions of Americans off of the unemployment lines–something that never would have happened if the Republicans had their way.

UPDATE: In their typical dishonest fashion, some conservatives are pointing out that the unemployment rate when Obama took office was 7.7% and that it now stands at 9.7%.

I mean, I’m glad they’re finally acknowledging that President Obama inherited much of our economic troubles from his predecessor, but they’re missing the point.  The recovery act was intended to staunch the bleeding, to prevent a massive recession from turning into a massive depression, not to significantly reduce unemployment–it’s  likely that no one bill could have done that.

So yes, unemployment is still high–but it would have been much higher if the GOP had their way and we did nothing. And had Congress listened to progressives and passed a larger stimulus package, I imagine that unemployment would be lower today.

UPDATE II: You know how you can tell that the recovery act worked?

Because the very Republicans who railed against it–and voted against it–are now trying to take credit for it:

Ah, hypocrisy.

GOP To Filibuster Jobs Bill?

Even though unemployment dropped to 9.7% last month, the economy is still suffering.

We need to do more to put Americans back to work, which is why President Obama is urging Congress to pass a jobs bill full of tax breaks for small businesses and other incentives for job creation.

But now there are reports that the GOP may–surprise surprise–filibuster the President’s proposal. Even though millions of Americans are out of work, the GOP wants to stay true to their obstructionist roots to block the creation of millions of new jobs.

My message to Democrats: if the GOP wants to filibuster the jobs bill, let them.

Look, there’s no sense in going to the negotiating table–the GOP will never, ever support a Democratic policy, particularly a policy designed to help millions of Americans. They want to deny President Obama and the Democrats anything even approaching a political victory and they will throw the American people under the bus to do it.

Try to negotiate, Democrats, and you will spend months making concession after concession–and, in the end, you still won’t get any Republican votes. And, by then, the jobs bill will be unpopular simply because the process dragged on for so long–just look at health care reform.

Democrats should just put together the jobs bill they want, and when the GOP tries to filibuster it, let them. And if they succeed, then Democrats should hit them–hard–for killing millions of new American jobs.

Then Democrats should re-introduce the same exact bill and let the GOP filibuster again. And then they should hit the Republicans, again, for killing millions of new American jobs.

And keep doing that, for as long as it takes. Propose the jobs bill, let the GOP filibuster it and then hit the GOP for that filibuster, because it’s time the Republicans started paying a political price for their obstructionism.

Like President Obama said during his State of the Union, if the GOP is going to filibuster everything than they need to take some responsibility for governing this country. If the GOP blocks the jobs bill then they should get the blame for keeping millions of Americans out of work. Democrats should shame them into passing it.

The GOP is playing hardball. It’s about time Democrats started playing hardball, too–especially since Democrats are on the side of the American people, here, and the GOP is out for nothing more than political power.