Today on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) called for extending unemployment insurance — which is set to run out tomorrow for many Americans — to help the millions of Americans who are out of work:
CHRIS WALLACE: Senator Kyl, will Republicans support more economic stimulus such as more aid to states, extending unemployment benefits, more tax incentives for small business?
KYL: There are really two questions inherent in that, Chris. We will have to do things like extending unemployment benefits because unemployment is so high, 9.7 percent, 15 million Americans unemployed. But that’s not a job stimulator. So we will do those things to take care of the families that are suffering right now.
The reason that so many Americans will lose their benefits tomorrow is because of GOP obstruction. Late last month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) announced that he was blocking unanimous consent to move forward on a measure in the Senate to extend unemployment benefits — similar to what Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) did weeks prior. However, this time, other Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), are backing Coburn’s obstruction.
Additionally, last month, Kyl said that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting “because people are being paid even though they’re not working.” “[C]ontinuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,” Kyl said.
Senators are on recess until April 12, meaning people losing their benefits tomorrow will have to go without relief for at least a week. “I understand that Republicans are upset they didn’t get their way on health care,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, chiding the GOP’s obstruction. And on Friday Reid called on the GOP to stop blocking the benefits. “[T]heir obstruction endangers the economic certainty of millions of families,” he said.