The end of the week took an undeniably dark and ominous turn for millions of unemployed Americans as Senate Republicans voted against an unemployment benefits extension this Thursday. Falling just three votes short of the 60 needed to trump a Republican filibuster, the jobs bill would have extended benefits to people out of work for more than six months.
Most of the bill, which also included several billions of dollars towards various growth and development projects, would have been paid for through offsetting tax increases or spending cuts. The only piece of the legislation left unaccounted for financially would be the actual six-month extension of benefits itself which proved to be a point of contention amongst many Republicans.
The bill also saw a lack of support from two key Democratic votes in Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson and West Virginia’s Robert Boyd. While Nelson sided with the Republicans in voting down the bill, Boyd simply abstained from the vote all together. The Dems also ultimately failed to sway moderate Maine Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins along with Massachusetts’ Scott Brown who had voted to defeat a previous filibuster on the March extension bill.
On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a fundraiser in Milwaukee, WI and gave this bleak assessment, “there’s no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession.”
“We inherited a godawful mess,” he added, saying that there was “no way to regenerate $3 trillion that was lost. Not misplaced, lost.”