Watch: Mitch McConnell Tries to Trade Unemployment Extension for Attack on Obamacare Mandate
President Obama praised the Senate for taking a step forward on extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits earlier today, but not before overcoming a Republican filibuster, and yet another attempt to ransom Americans’ economic well-being in exchange for undermining Obamacare. Before the cloture vote this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made a motion to allow an amendment that would somehow “pay for” extended unemployment by delaying Obamacare’s individual mandate by a year.
Republicans shut down the government late last year in a quest to defund the Affordable Care Act, and in the Senate today, it was a case of same schtick, different year. McConnell began by evincing surprise at “the fervor with which the majority is dedicated to reviving the expired emergency unemployment benefits, after they ignored the issue all of last year,” despite widely-reported facts to the contrary.
“I’m sure that many o my side who would like to see these additional weeks of benefits extended, if like the Speaker of the House indicated he supported, we could find a way to extend them without actually adding to the national debt,” McConnell continued. “So to that end, I’d like to propose that we be allowed — my side be allowed to offer an amendment to pay for these benefits by lifting the burden of Obamacare’s individual mandate for one year, and take care of our veterans who were harmed by the recently agreed to budget deal while we are at it, in the same amendment.”
McConnell didn’t explain how increasing spending on the military pensions that were cut in the Paul Ryan/Patty Murray budget deal, or delaying the Obamacare mandate, which would result in a loss of the revenue from fines, but would not prevent anyone from receiving federal subsidies for health insurance, would reduce the budget deficit, and offset the UI benefits. The savings he envisions come at the expense of, among other things, children not being signed up for health insurance through Obamacare and the CHIP program, and adults voluntarily not getting insurance either. If they get sick, they can use those sweet unemployment checks to pay.
Here’s the clip, from C-Span 2:
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