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Senate Chooses to Protect Wasteful Spending Instead of Paying for Unemployment Benefits

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today after the Senate rejected his efforts to pay for unemployment benefits instead of needlessly adding to the deficit.

"The American people are disgusted with Congress because we refuse to make the hard choices struggling families make every day. Our debt and deficits are as much of an emergency as unemployment, yet Congress continues to pretend it can spend and borrow without restraint. The best unemployment benefit is a job. Unfortunately, Congress' lazy and irresponsible decision to protect wasteful spending, including items President Obama has targeted for termination, will make it more difficult for out-of-work Americans to find a job," Dr. Coburn said.

"I applaud the Democrats who had the courage to acknowledge that paying for unemployment benefits is not a callous response to the plight of Americans struggling to find work. Paying for these benefits is the right thing for both unemployed Americans and future generations. Sadly, a majority of Senators voted to borrow from future generations in order to avoid the hard work of budgeting they were elected to do," Dr. Coburn said.

Coburn amendment #3723 failed by a vote of 51 to 46; amendment #3726 failed by a vote of 50 to 48; and amendment #3727 failed by a vote of 53 to 45.

Examples of wasteful spending the Senate voted to protect include:

* Payments to dead farmers, which cost more than $1.1 billion over ten years.
* Maintaining unused federal buildings and property, which will cost $4 billion this year.
* Unused, nine-year-old earmarks worth at least $500 million.
* A presidential request to repeal a duplicative bus grant program, which costs $120 million over ten years.
* A presidential request to repeal an unnecessary federal fundraising program, which costs $510 million over ten years.
* A presidential request to repeal duplicative water projects, which costs $1.29 billion over ten years.

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