In an increasingly common reminder of the partisanship of American politics, President Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to harshly condemn Senate Republicans’ obstructionism. In the lead-up to tomorrow’s vote on a federal extension of unemployment benefits–a vote that’s been blocked by GOP senators for nearly two months–Obama said, “too often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress.”
So far, the Republicans have effectively stymied the extension of unemployment insurance by painting it as welfare, something sapping benificiaries’ will to find a job. They’ve also taken issue with the cost of the extension, something Obama addressed directly:
So after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, they’ve finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed. They’ve got no problem spending money on tax breaks for folks at the top who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them; but they object to helping folks laid off in this recession who really do need help.
The vote tomorrow is expected to pass, but don’t expect the president to ease up on Republican leaders, or vice versa. Despite the heat, November is closer than it appears, and the GOP knows all it has to do to stage a massive coup is to dig in its heels and ride this still flagging economy into a House takeover.
–Cord Jefferson is a staff writer for The Root. Follow him on Twitter.