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More Money for Doing Much Less

Having fallen short yesterday, the Democrats have brought H.R. 5749, the so-called "Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008" back to the floor for a vote. Under their parliamentary maneuver yesterday, the Democrats needed a two-thirds majority to pass the bill yesterday -- it fell 3 votes short. The Democrats are pretty much assured to succeed the second time around using a floor procedure that requires only a simple majority for passage. However, the shortfall yesterday doesn't look good against the looming veto threat from the White House.

This bill is another example of how Democrats take a decent idea that could help desperate Americans who need it the most, and in the process of hijacking it for political gain they ruin it.

Clearly, some states are feeling the unemployment crunch more than others, but this legislation makes no distinction for that. Even states with low unemployment rates would receive the 13-week extension. The White House and Republicans are willing to accept a targeted exception, but the bill as it is now is simply irresponsible.

Furthermore, this bill allows someone with as little as two weeks of work to qualify for up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits -- a dramatic cut from the 20 weeks currently required by law. H.R. 5749 would increase entitlement spending by $12.8 billion over five years and increase the deficit by $12.2 billion.  However, the bill contains no spending cuts to offset this new spending.

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