Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sinema holds GOP accountable for ‘NO’ votes, urges action on jobless aid

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema is holding Republicans accountable for failing to extend unemployment benefits to Arizonans who are out of work due to failed GOP economic policies.

Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans will lose jobless aid during the holidays thanks to Republicans’ “NO” votes on extending it. Nearly 600,000 jobs across the nation will be lost over the year and the U.S. economy will be 0.6 percent lower than it is today.

“It is just unconscionable that Arizona Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain voted against getting our economy back on track and instead voted to make it worse,” Sinema said. “It is disgusting that Republicans will break the tradition of supporting unemployment benefits, yet they are tirelessly supporting tax cuts for multimillionaires. It makes no sense.”

The Congressional Budget Office says every $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates up to nearly $2 in economic growth. The program is the most effective government policy for generating growth among 11 options the CBO has analyzed.

Earlier this year, Kyl actually said he felt jobless aid was a "disincentive" to out-of-work Americans to find new work.

"I'm sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can't argue it's a job enhancer," Kyl said on the Senate floor when debating the topic of a federal unemployment benefits extension to allow states, such as Arizona, to continue to pay out benefits.

On the state level, Republicans’ lack of support for Arizonans trying to find work during a 10 percent unemployment rate is similar. Gov. Jan Brewer and Republicans killed a bill that would have raised Arizona’s jobless aid pay rate, one of the lowest in the nation. Brewer also rejected $150 million of federal stimulus money to modernize the unemployment insurance system; that money went to other states.

“For every one job in the nation, five Americans are fighting for it right now,” Sinema said. “In Arizona, we have one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation and it’s not getting any better. McCain and Kyl will have another opportunity to make the right choice in extending unemployment benefits and I am urging them to vote ‘YES’.”


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