As Jobless Americans Go Broke, Politicians Care More About Politics

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
By Paul Martin

By SAM GUSTIN
DailyFinance.com

As Congress returns to the Capitol this week, the 2010 midterm political season is already well underway. With Republicans hungrily eyeing vulnerable Democratic seats in the House and Senate, and Dems desperate to maintain their majorities in both chambers, most pretenses of policymaking have given way to purely political positioning.

And sometimes, inaction can be more useful politically than action. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Senate, which has basically ground to a halt, thanks to legislative maneuvers like the Republican filibusters (or the threat thereof), which can be defeated only by 60 votes — two short of the Democrats’ current seat count.

Consider the debate about extending unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who have lost or will soon lose them (at a rate of some 200,000 per week). Senate Republicans have refused to allow the measure to come to the floor for an up or down vote because, they say, it would add to the budget deficit. And it would, to the tune of $35 billion.

Each Side’s Agendas Are Crippling Action

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