Out-of-Work Americans Victims of Senate Republican Political Theatre
Congressman Garamendi Calls on GOP to End
Obstruction of Benefits Crucial to Millions of Americans
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the House passed emergency legislation to extend a range of programs that are expiring this weekend (at midnight, Sunday, February 28), including:
- Unemployment benefits
- Help with health insurance for the unemployed (COBRA)
- The highway bill
- Delay in the cut in Medicare physician payments
- Small business loan guarantees
However, Republican Senator Jim Bunning, with acquiescence by his Republican colleagues, is blocking passage of this emergency measure by placing a "hold" on the legislation. In response, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today issued the following statement:
"Senator Jim Bunning and his Senate Republican colleagues have put millions of Americans in the cross hairs of their extreme ideology. By blocking the unemployment benefit extension, Republicans have ripped away federal unemployment benefits from over a million jobless workers who will become ineligible in March. How many homes will be lost because of this unbelievably callous act? How many children will go to bed hungry because Bunning was more interested in cheap theatre than governance?
"Republicans routinely talk about seniors, but this latest partisan shenanigan cuts Medicare physician payments and threatens health care access for 47 million seniors.
"Republicans should realize that this is not a game. This emergency 30-day extension passed with unanimous support in the House. How did Senate Republicans respond when a single member of their caucus held up a bipartisan bill that provides crucial support for millions of Americans? Sadly, they let a former baseball pitcher throw a screwball at our economy and millions of Americans.
"I call upon Republicans to take off their ideological blinders, restore these critical benefits, and work with Democrats to lay a foundation for restored American prosperity. If you want to play games, go to the ball park. This is Congress."