Tom Delay: People Unemployed Because They Want to Be
Former Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas, appearing on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, March 7, 2010, told Candy Crowley that Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky) was brave to launch his one man filibuster against signing an extension on unemployment benefits, affecting more than 200,000 thousand unemployed Americans per week. Among the 200,000 of that week, about 100,000 American's benefits had already ceased.
The former house leader agreed with Senator Bunning's statement implying lack of benefits offered more of an incentive for the unemployed to work.
Senator Bunning blocked allowing unemployment benefits be considered by unanimious consent, wanting clarity on how the benefits would be paid.
Asked whether it was bad strategy to make a budget stand on a $10 billion extension of unemployment (as opposed to, say, the Bush's $720 billion prescription drug package), Delay insisted that if the PR had been done right, Bunning would have been applauded. Helping the unemployed with federal assistance, he said, was unsound policy.
"You know," Delay said, "there is an argument to be made that these extensions, the unemployment benefits keeps people from going and finding jobs. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don't look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.
Host Candy Crowley: Congressman, that's a hard sell, isn't it?
Delay: it's the truth.
Senator Bunning eventually relented with the extension occuring, possibly making it possible for some states to issue checks to those already determined to be eligible.
The passage and enactment of the legislation means that state agencies can begin sending checks to thousands of unemployed Americans who were in danger of losing their benefit if Congress did not act.
Groups involved with unemployment issues believe passage of the extension may have allowed some states enough time to cut checks for those who are already eligible to receive the extended benefits. However, almost half of the 200,000 people per week affected by the extension are filing for the first time.
Worried about not getting checks
“Those are the ones we are worried about not getting their checks this week,” says Andrew Stettner of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), which advocates for the unemployed. “We know there will be delays.”
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Arlington, Virginia, United States