So given their druthers, the Republicans would rather screw the long-term unemployed out of the pittance they get on unemployment. They don't put it that way, of course; they merely offer states the "option" of spending federal unemployment funding on their debt instead of unemployment benefits:
WASHINGTON -- After some encouraging signs that Republicans might cooperate with them, the two House Democrats trying to give the long-term jobless extra weeks of unemployment benefits are dismayed the GOP has instead moved a bill that could take benefits away.
Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) want to give the long-term unemployed another 14 weeks of unemployment insurance. In a remarkable April meeting, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) encouraged them to work with Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees unemployment insurance.
Instead, Camp is pursuing a bill that would give states the option to spend federal unemployment dollars on paying down debt instead of paying for extended unemployment benefits.
“Instead of acting on our bill to extend aid to unemployed workers who have exhausted their benefits, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp wants to gut unemployment benefits and deny millions of jobless workers the means to help make ends meet," Lee and Scott said in a statement. "As we face an unemployment rate of 9 percent nationwide, an unemployment rate for teenagers three times as high as the national average, and an economy where there are 4.4 unemployed workers for every available job opening, it is simply wrong to propose a bill that would further penalize unemployed workers across the country.”
Camp's office declined to comment. Ways and Means will vote on Camp's bill on Wednesday.