Sen. Rand Paul: Extending Unemployment Benefits Would Be Disservice to Jobless

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 8 2013 11:11 AM

Sen. Rand Paul: Extending Unemployment Benefits Would Be Disservice to Jobless

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Sen. Rand Paul delivers a speech at the Detroit Economic Club on December 6, 2013

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

President Obama’s push to extend unemployment benefits set to expire for 1.3 million workers on Dec. 28 is a bad idea because it would end up hurting those it purports to help, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Fox News Sunday. Although Paul took pains to emphasize that “I support unemployment benefits for the 28 weeks they’re paid for” he added that he wouldn’t agree to extend them any further.

"While it seems good, it actually does a disservice to the people you're trying to help," Paul said, adding that employers prefer to hire workers who have been on unemployment for a shorter period of time. "You're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy."

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Whether to extend benefits has become a key part of discussions on the 2014 budget bill that lawmakers have to pass by Jan. 15. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin suggested Sunday that the issue would likely not be a deal-breaker. "I don't think we've reached that point where we say this is it, take it or leave it," Durbin told ABC News, emphasizing that he hoped the extension would be a part of negotiations, according to the Washington Post.

On Saturday, President Obama used his weekly address to push Congress to extend unemployment insurance. “The holiday season is a time for remembering the bonds we share, and our obligations to one another as human beings,” Obama said. “But right now, more than 1 million of our fellow Americans are poised to lose a vital economic lifeline just a few days after Christmas if Congress doesn’t do something about it.” Obama also emphasized that extending benefits wouldn’t just help individual job seekers and their families, but also the economy as a whole.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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