WASHINGTON — The looming expiration of federal unemployment benefits raises the question of whether Democratic lawmakers bungled the debate.
Though Congress can still act retroactively, Democrats‘ goal had been to pass an extension of the benefits before Dec. 28, when they are set to expire. The administration and allies on the Hill tried to attach a provision to the budget deal passed in mid-December. But by the time they began engaging the fight, few Democrats seemed particularly attentive and Republicans were more than comfortable running out the clock.
Now, with Congress in recess, long-term unemployment insurance will come to an end for 1.3 million Americans, potentially costing 240,000 jobs, according to the White House‘s Council of Economic Advisers. Was it inevitable? Or was it a case of political mismanagement?
“We have always done so when unemployment is this high and would make little sense to fail to do so now when we are still facing the burdens of the worst downturn since the Great Recession,” Sperling said. “It is high bang for the buck for the economy, reduces poverty and helps workers who lost jobs due to no fault of their own get back on their feet.”
Those figures, culled from independent forecasters, may be a conservative estimate, the authors note. They found that approximately 120,000 fewer private sector jobs were created during the first two weeks of October because of the dual threats of the shutdown and the standoff over the debt ceiling. Forecasters additionally expect fourth quarter real GDP growth to be 0.2 to 0.6 percent lower than what it could have been had the shutdown and debt ceiling fight not taken place.
WASHINGTON — Three senior Obama administration officials have made it abundantly clear that the president has no interest in budging from his position on the government shutdown or the looming debt ceiling fight.
The officials met with a handful of columnists and reporters on Thursday morning on condition that they not be named or quoted. They said President Barack Obama feels as strongly about this issue as he has about anything else during his time in office, including passing health care reform.
The meeting came the day after congressional leaders and the president met in the White House in hopes of finding a path forward on the dual budget fights. That meeting ended without an agreement. And the fact that both sides continued a media blitz the morning after suggests that a resolution remains far off.
“If you say to your tax people, as he seems to have done, ‘I want every trick in the book. I want to push this to the edge,'” Rattner said during an appearance on “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN. “I will tell you that as a private equity guy, I’m familiar with many of the things that he did. And I know many people who have done many of the things that he did. I do not know anyone who did everything that he did.”
“Some of what he did, like the IRA, I have asked fellow private equity guys,” Rattner said, referencing the account in which Romney has stored up to $100 million tax-free. “None of us had even known this was a possible trick, if you will. He has pushed the envelope all the way to the edge, to his benefit, and I think that Americans would find that pretty distasteful.” FULL POST