Democrats Look to Fantasy Savings to Save Unemployment Insurance

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 9 2014 4:43 PM

Democrats Look to Fantasy Savings to Save Unemployment Insurance

453990517
Democrats will gladly pay Rand Paul Tuesday for unemployment insurance today.

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

I'd been hearing dribs and drabs about a bold new Democratic attempt to extend unemployment insurance not just for three months (like the bill being debated in the Senate) but through the year. Burgess Everett confirms the details: Democrats want to extend the cuts of sequestration by a year, saving $17 billion, thus paying for all the UI. "Democrats took the temperature of their caucus during a party lunch," he reports, "and are awaiting a score from the Congressional Budget Office that they believe will show the sequester extension will raise about $17 billion and the benefit crackdown about $1 billion, enough to extend unemployment benefits through mid-November."

A progressive's first reaction might be "oh, come on!" A conservative might have the same reaction. The conservative would be right. If 2013 taught us anything about sequestration, about automatic cuts, it's that they're not as painful as advertised but painful enough to be blithely undone in budget deals. "There is a recurring theme in Washington budget negotiations," said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at the end of last year, when the most recent deal was cut. "It’s, I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Advertisement

Republicans keep saying they've got a pack of amendments ready to go, ready to be added to an unemployment insurance bill, ready to change the way the money is handed out, and save money. Democrats won't allow votes on the amendments, which we haven't seen, anyway. They want to go back to the sequestration well, knowing it can be refilled at any time. House Republicans, who've been watching from the cheap seats, won't easily go along.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 19 2014 1:10 PM Ascension Island: Home of Lava Fields, a False Forest, and the World's Worst Golf Course
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 3:07 PM Everything Is a "Women's Issue"
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.