The GOP does not have majority in the House quite yet, but Republicans are already succeeding in obstructing Democratic legislation.
According to media reports, House Republicans on Nov. 18 blocked a bill to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed. Needing a two-third majority vote to pass, the $12 billion package would have extended the current unemployment insurance for certain Americans by about three months. Most Republicans believe that the cost of the program should be offset by other savings rather than adding billions more to the national deficit.
The Wall Street Journal reports that 800,000 unemployed workers will lose their benefits by Nov. 30 and two million will lose them by the end of December. The parties are expected to reach a compromise, but not until December at the earliest.
A total of 143 Republicans voted against the bill, while 21 GOP members favored it.
In response to the voting result, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that unemployment insurance is a proven economic booster that returns $2 back into the economy for every $1 invested. She claimed that Democrats voted to help the unemployed, while Republicans did not.
"We will continue to work for an emergency short-term extension to get families through the holidays and to work for longer term solutions as well," said Pelosi.