“But it is both a relief and a disappointment that the new [job] numbers offer some assurance that the long-reliable pattern of adding a bit more than two million jobs a year continues apace. The 175,000 net jobs added in February extrapolate to a pace of 2.1 million jobs a year…. The jobs recovery in the United States is astonishingly consistent, astonishingly resilient and astonishingly underwhelming.”
As promised, President Obama signed an executive order today raising the minimum wage for employees of federal government contractors from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.
But that increase won’t show up in actual paychecks any time soon. First, the increase doesn’t even take effect until January 1, 2015. Second, it will take three to five years to be fully implemented as contracts get renewed.
The procedural vote to move the bill forward took an hour as they were having trouble getting to 60. Eventually, 12 Republicans joined with all 55 Dems, so that there were 67 votes to end the filibuster. Despite the primary challenges they face, both Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas were among the 12..
The House has approved a clean debt ceiling increase, 221-201, to last until March of 2015.
Twenty-eight Republicans voted for it, none from the deep South. The yes GOP votes came from just ten states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, California, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner is going to bring a “clean” debt ceiling bill up for a vote tonight. He’s counting on almost all Dem support to pass it, with maybe 16-20 Republicans.
Meanwhile, Heritage Action and Club for Growth are telling members to vote no and promising to “score” the vote, which means it will count against them in their final grade if they vote yes. The Senate Conservatives Fund (an outside Tea Party group, not an official Senate group) is calling for Boehner to be replaced as Speaker. I guess they’d rather have the world financial system collapse. It does feel as if we now have three major parties — Democrats, Republicans, and Anarchists.
Nancy Pelosi told House Dems “don’t gloat.” With the complete impasse on minimum wage, unemployment benefits, tweaking Obamacare, equal pay for women, job equality for gays, immigration, etc., there’s really nothing to gloat over.
“I believe it’s immoral for this country to have as a policy extending long-term unemployment to people rather than us working on creation of jobs.”
Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Texas)
Um, Pete, this isn’t a case of “rather than” — you can, and should, do both. Because while you’re “working on” creating those jobs, people need to eat and pay their rent.
But the thing is, the GOP has shown nointerestwhatsoever in creating jobs because that might make the anti-Christ Obama look good and help the demon Dems in 2014. Your party is interested only in making the economy as stalled and sluggish as possible, which means making as many American families as possible suffer.
I agree with Brian Beutler at Salon that the GOP is opposing an extension of unemployment benefits because they don’t want to do anything to help the economy — besides helping the affected families, an extension would create jobs and raise GDP.
From “GOP’s ulterior motive on unemployment: Economic sabotage?”:
“Congress has never cut off these benefits when unemployment has been as high as it is right now, and the long-term unemployed and chronically poor aren’t equivalent populations. So there’s got to be more going on than just conservative indifference.
“Some Republicans would claim the deficit is too high to renew benefits, but we know that’s not true because the deficit is shrinking fast, and there are myriad, painless ways to defray the cost….
“Unemployment benefits make people’s lives better and buoy a fragile, but possibly accelerating recovery. Some Republicans are apparently reluctant to give Democrats and the economy a shot in the arm right now.”
There are no principles involved here, just pure politics. From now on, it’s going to be all about the GOP retaking the Senate, and after the mid-terms, it’s going to all about the GOP retaking the White House. No governing, just campaigning.
It looks as if extending those unemployment benefits that expired on December 28 for the long-term unemployed is two votes short of passing in the Senate. All 55 Dems are for it, and they have three Republicans — Dean Heller of Nevada, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
But a majority of 58 doesn’t matter when you need 60.
Even if it passed the Senate, good luck in the House of Crazies.
The Dems shouldn’t have done the Murray-Ryan deal without an extension of benefits.