WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement after Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) blocked legislation extending important benefits to millions of Americans:
“Last night, a single Republican Senator, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, blocked the extension of the benefits that are keeping Americans’ heads above water in the greatest economic crisis since the Depression. And many of his Senate Republican colleagues are allowing his action to stand.
“More than 1 million American workers—most of whom lost their jobs through no fault of their own—will stop receiving unemployment insurance on Monday because of this irresponsible action. Many Americans will also lose their health insurance, because Senate Republicans are also blocking the extension of the COBRA program that helps Americans stay insured after they’ve lost their jobs. Programs to build roads and put Americans to work will shut down, as well as federal flood insurance for homeowners will also be affected—and even satellite TV for 2 million Americans.
“Senate Republicans say they are blocking this legislation because it would add a fraction of a percent to the deficit. But we didn’t hear those concerns when they borrowed billions give debt-financed tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Instead, they are erecting their fiscal discipline talking points on the backs of people who have lost their jobs in the Great Recession.
“The deficit is serious business, and Congress must take it seriously. But making these hard times even worse for ordinary Americans is not going to make any measurable difference. What will? The new PAYGO law, so that Congress pays for what it buys, and working with the President’s fiscal commission to tackle the greatest sources of our deficit. I hope that Republicans contribute constructively to these key steps to restore America’s fiscal health.”