This is yet another example of the GOP's move to extremism in recent years, and especially since the election of President Barack Obama:
National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said in an interview airing Sunday on “Meet the Press” that precedent from the George W. Bush years dictates unemployment benefits be extended without being paid for.Remember that as Republicans inevitably take to the cable news shows acting all pious about how they couldn't possibly do anything like keep emergency unemployment insurance going without an equal cut to, say, food stamps or Head Start. And remember a few essential facts about the federal unemployment insurance program: Long-term unemployment is double what it's been when emergency benefits were cut off after previous recessions. Unemployment benefits inject much-needed money into the economy and cutting them off could slow economic growth. And if things continue as they are now, the share of jobless people covered by unemployment insurance is projected to fall to a historic low.
“Fourteen of the last 17 times that emergency unemployment’s been extended there have been no strings attached,” Sperling said. “All five times that President Bush extended unemployment benefits there were no pay-fors.”