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Barbara L.
Democrat CA 13

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  • Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendment to H.J. Res. 59, Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

    by Representative Barbara Lee

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady for yielding and for her tremendous leadership in her capacity as our ranking member on the Rules Committee. Thank you so much for standing in strong opposition to this rule.

    As a member of the Budget Committee and Appropriations Committee, I want to commend all of my colleagues for putting forth a plan to replace some of the reckless sequester cuts that do continue to hurt families each and every day.

    Yet this budget deal is really outrageous for what it doesn't do. It does nothing--nothing--to extend emergency unemployment benefits to the millions of jobless workers in every State.

    As the Center on Budget and Priorities report today points out, the failure to include any extension of Federal emergency jobless benefits in the deal would likely negate any boost from sequester this deal would bring, and I will include this report for the Record.

    Over 170 Democrats have joined my letter calling for an extension of this critical lifeline. It is really shameful that Republicans have refused to include an extension of unemployment benefits. The least we can do for the millions of the long-term unemployed who are struggling just to get by during this holiday season is to pass this 3-month extension. This budget does nothing for the millions of jobless people and asks nothing from the people who caused our economic crisis and continue to benefit from economic inequality.

    Please remember, this is not about showboating or statistics. We are talking about people's lives. We are talking about people living on the edge. We are talking about 1.3 million people who will lose unemployment benefits during this holiday season. It is cruel. It is morally wrong, and it is economically stupid.

    So I hope that we can vote ``no'' on this rule and defeat the previous question so we can vote for a 3-month extension of unemployment compensation.

    Finally, let me just say, we must do better. We must protect and expand the safety net that are the pillars of our society.

    [From offthechartsblog.org, Dec. 11, 2013] Failure To Continue Jobless Benefits Would Undo Budget Deal's Economic Boost (By Chad Stone) The Murray-Ryan budget deal provides a stimulative boost to the economy--albeit a modest one. But here's the rub: the economic drag caused by lawmakers' failure to include an extension of federal emergency jobless benefits in the deal would likely negate that stimulus.

    Economist Joel Prakken of Macroeconomic Advisers says that the deal would boost economic growth by ``maybe 1/4 percentage point'' compared to the sequestration cuts scheduled under current law. The deal follows the sound principle under current circumstances of raising deficits in the near term to boost the economic recovery but reducing them by an even larger amount later, when the economy is expected to be stronger.

    The problem is, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) has a very similar impact--boosting the economy by up to 0.3 percent by the end of 2014 and adding up to 300,000 jobs. Not extending EUC would remove that potential boost from the economy.

    The budget deal and extending EUC have similar economic effects because their budgetary effects are roughly the same size: CBO estimates that the budget deal's increases in discretionary spending would raise federal spending by $26 billion in fiscal year 2014 and $22 billion in fiscal year 2015, while its deficit-reduction provisions would cut spending by roughly $3 billion in each fiscal year. Netting these effects and assuming that about a quarter of spending for fiscal year 2015 (which starts October 1, 2014) occurs in calendar year 2014, the budget deal would produce a net increase in spending of about $28 billion by the end of calendar year 2014. CBO estimates that extending EUC would cost about $26 billion in calendar year 2014.

    CBO and other analysts generally regard spending on unemployment insurance as providing more ``bang for the buck'' than most other stimulus measures. So, the economic drag in 2014 from a failure to extend EUC is likely to be at least as large as the economic boost from the budget deal.

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