Yglesias

Kyl Holding Unemployment Benefits Hostage to Rich Kids Tax Cut

CREDIT:

Fun with priorities:

Senate Democrats have found Republican support elusive for a forthcoming bill that would include year-long extensions of expired tax provisions, long-term unemployment coverage and health insurance subsidies for jobless workers. On Wednesday, a top Republican leader said a deal on the bill would depend on working out the fate of the expired estate tax. The GOP also might raise “pay-as-you-go” issues.

Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said that Republicans will block consideration of the new bill unless they get “a path forward fairly soon” on the estate tax. The tax lapsed at the end of 2009, and if Congress does not act, it will return in 2011 with much higher rates and lower exemptions than most lawmakers want.

Unemployment insurance extensions are not my favorite countercyclical measure, but this kind of thing is just appalling. If the GOP is concerned about “pay-as-you-go” issues related to UI extension, maybe they should consider letting the estate tax repeal expire as scheduled.