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Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) makes air quotes as she talks about
House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers is telling Republicans how to pretend to "care" about unemployed Americans.
The number of issues on which Republican leaders have given other members of their party sensitivity training continues to grow. They've already had to be coached on how not to further alienate Latinos and immigrants and women. Now it's unemployment—an issue on which it's been determined Republicans need to learn to sound empathetic in large part because their party is blocking an unemployment benefits extension. In other words, they're getting training on how to make their concrete actions sound a little less callous.

A memo sent out by House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers informs members that "For every American out of work, it's a personal crisis for them and their family." Also, guys? When unemployment is as high as it is now, it's a national crisis. "That's why House Republicans remain focused on creating jobs and growing the economy." This is a lie, at least for all but the dozen or so House Republicans too stupid to realize that repealing Obamacare is not actually about creating jobs and growing the economy.

"Dozens of House-passed jobs bills remain sitting in the Democratic-run Senate awaiting action, including the SKILLS Act which helps long-term unemployed get training often needed to re-enter the workforce." According to the National League of Cities, the SKILLS Act is "bad public policy" because, among other things, it would

Change what was once a program targeted to those most in need - economically disadvantaged adults and youth and special population groups like veterans, migrant farm workers, and low income seniors - into a block grant to governors whose funds may be used to provide training and employment services to almost any segment of the population, including those who are not economically disadvantaged.
Not to mention that it would undermine local control and "mandate that certain workforce development programs whose expenditures currently equal approximately $14 billion be eliminated or consolidated into a single $6 billion workforce investment fund." But hey, Republicans can always let people know that they understand this is a personal crisis for them and their family.

"Washington has lost its priorities if it's more focused on making unemployment easier to tolerate than it is getting people back to work and restoring independence all together." So what do you call a party that's more focused on putting health care out of reach for millions of people and making unemployment harder to tolerate than it is getting people back to work?

Republicans can pretend they care all they like. The fact is, they've blocked meaningful jobs legislation while trying to promote shams like the SKILLS Act. And now they're standing in the way of a last lifeline to people struggling to survive in an economy Republicans created and have worked to weaken because they see a stronger economy as benefiting Democrats.

Email your member of Congress now to demand that they restore benefits to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 08:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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