The House is on recess rather than working on things like extending emergency unemployment aid for 1.5 million Americans whose benefits were cut off at the end of December. And Speaker John Boehner, who could have canceled this week's recess to focus on jobless benefits, apparently has more important things to do with his recess than stay in his district talking to constituents. Boehner was in Las Vegas at a $2,600 a head fundraiser for Rep. Joe Heck. With 9 percent unemployment in Nevada (and 7.5 percent unemployment in Boehner's home state of Ohio):
The state's Democratic lawmakers were quick to pile on. "Speaker Boehner skipped town to fundraise in Nevada instead of scheduling a vote to extend unemployment insurance benefits that thousands of Nevadans rely on," says Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.). As long as Boehner was in town, Horsford says, he should have "take[n] the time to explain to unemployed Nevadans why he continues to ignore them."The problem is that Boehner won't experience this as much of an attack unless it comes with a hell of a lot of political pressure. After all, it's a fairly straightforward statement of his priorities to say that he puts politics over people and fundraising over helping unemployed people. Definitely fundraising over helping unemployed people. Why would he talk to them when he knows he's not going to listen? Appeals to basic humanity, decency, or any notion of good economic policy are lost on Boehner and his party. The only way to get them to care about unemployment is to make it too politically painful not to.
"Once again, Speaker Boehner has chosen politics over the people," adds Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.). He "would do well to take time from his fundraising schedule to meet with families in District One and hear their struggles to put food on the table, pay their mortgage, and put gas in the car."