TUCSON -- Rep. Daniel Patterson and other leaders are holding Republicans accountable for failing to extend unemployment benefits to Arizonans who are out of work due to failed GOP economic policies.
Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans will lose jobless aid during the holidays thanks to Republicans’ “no” votes on extending it. Nearly 600,000 jobs across the nation will be lost over the year and the U.S. economy will be 0.6 percent lower than it is today.
"U.S. unemployment is still very high, especially in severely stressed states such as Arizona, where thousands of families depend on unemployment insurance to barely scrape by in this still very rough economy for workers," said Patterson. "People want jobs, and extending jobless aid will not stop them from seeking hard-to-find employment, but it will stop them from going hungry or becoming homeless."
The Congressional Budget Office says every $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates up to nearly $2 in economic growth. The program is the most effective government policy for generating growth among 11 options the CBO has analyzed.
Earlier this year, GOP Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona actually said he felt jobless aid was a "disincentive" to out-of-work Americans to find new work.
"I'm sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can't argue it's a job enhancer," Kyl said on the Senate floor when debating the topic of a federal unemployment benefits extension to allow states, such as Arizona, to continue to pay out benefits.
On the state level, Republicans’ lack of support for Arizonans trying to find work during a 10 percent unemployment rate is similar. Gov. Jan Brewer and Republicans killed a bill that would have raised Arizona’s jobless aid pay rate, one of the lowest in the nation. Brewer also rejected $150 million of federal stimulus money to modernize the unemployment insurance system; that money went to other states.
"Republican Senators including Arizona's Kyl and John McCain are the Grinch this year, heartlessly cutting off American families as part of their reckless temper tantrum demanding unwise immediate tax cuts for the very rich," explains Patterson. "Shame on the callous and out-of-touch GOP for risking the lives and ruining the holidays of millions of Americans."
“It is just unconscionable that Kyl and McCain voted against getting our economy back on track and instead voted to make it worse,” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Asst. House Democratic Leader. “It is disgusting that Republicans will break the tradition of supporting unemployment benefits, yet they are tirelessly supporting tax cuts for multimillionaires. It makes no sense.”
McCain and Kyl will have another opportunity to make the right choice in extending unemployment benefits and they should help Arizona by voting 'yes'.
- adapted from AZ House Dems PIO