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Public Statements

Continuing Extension Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


[Begin Insert]

Mr. LINDER. Madam Speaker, drip, drip, drip.

Here we are for yet another extension of unemployment benefits and various related programs. These programs have been repeatedly extended, even as Democrats claim their economic stimulus plan has worked and is creating jobs. Well, it's not, and our presence on this floor today is yet another affirmation of that obvious fact. If stimulus was working, more people would have paychecks. But it's not, so we are here to hand out more unemployment checks instead.

Let's review the history of just the unemployment benefit extensions we are continuing today.

In June 2008, Congress created a new Federal ``temporary'' unemployment benefit program paying 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, on top of 26 weeks of State benefits. CBO said the UI portion of that bill would cost $14 billion. Unemployment was 5.5 percent.

In November 2008, that temporary program was expanded by 20 weeks of benefits--for a new total of 59 weeks of UI per person. CBO said that would cost just under $6 billion. Unemployment was 6.9 percent.

In February 2009, Democrats' stimulus plan extended the temporary program through 2009 and nationalized the Federal/State extended benefits program, among other changes. That added another 20 weeks of Federal benefits, for a total of up to 79 weeks per person. CBO said that would cost $40 billion. Unemployment was 8.2 percent.

In November 2009, Congress added another 20 weeks of temporary extended benefits, for a record total of 99 weeks of UI per person. CBO estimated that would cost $2 billion just in the last few weeks of 2009. Unemployment was 10 percent.

In December 2009, the temporary program was extended for two months. CBO said that would cost $14 billion. Unemployment was 10 percent.

Last month the program was extended through March, at a cost of $8 billion. Unemployment was 9.7 percent.

And here we are again today, pondering yet another extension or expansion--the sixth of the program created in the summer of 2008--costing yet another $6 billion. Since this program began, CBO estimates would suggest we will have spent a total of $90 billion on Federal UI benefits through the end of next month. And that's not counting another $50-plus billion it would cost to extend these programs for the rest of this year, as the Senate approved last week.

Unemployment has soared from 5.5 percent to 10 percent. Yet our colleagues on the other side of the aisle press on with their claims that this is somehow creating jobs. It's not.

What it is creating is more unemployment taxes, to cover the costs of the record unemployment benefits States are paying out. Those are taxes on jobs, which are rising in 35 States this year, by a total of 44 percent.

Madam Speaker, we have tried extending unemployment benefits again and again. And we have only gotten more unemployment. Yet what unemployed workers really want are jobs and paychecks. We need to start over and do the things that really help create jobs for unemployed workers. That means eliminating uncertainty by scrapping Democrats' government health care takeover and cap and tax energy plans, extending expiring tax cuts on businesses and individuals, repealing wasteful stimulus spending, and committing to not increasing any tax until the economy has fully recovered.

Until we do that, additional extensions of unemployment benefits will simply spend even more money we don't have without truly helping unemployed workers find jobs, which must be our real goal.

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