The U.S. Senate is on the verge of passing an extension of unemployment benefits for the next three months. Obama and the Democrats want this badly. The GOP’s minimum price for this measure should be that the American people know Obamacare’s 2015 costs before the mid-term elections.
A strong argument can be made that jobless checks merely delay the date when those without work finally bite the bullet and accept whatever engagements they can find. Of course, those who have knocked on scores of doors and submitted hundreds of resumes can attest that there still is insufficient work in a nation still hobbled by the triumph of Obamanomics. The latter argument is likely to prevail, especially with bone-chilling temperatures stretching all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and unemployment at or above 7.0 percent since December 2008.
Republicans should insist that this measure’s $6.25 billion cost be offset fully, or at least substantially, with reductions elsewhere in the budget. Killing, once and for all, $6.25 billion worth of corporate-welfare programs would be good policy and good politics for the GOP.
Senate Republicans should fight to add one vital amendment to this bill, which Democrats are demanding very loudly. If this measure passes the Senate without this language, House Republicans should insert the following demand in their version and then vigorously defend it in the ensuing conference committee:
In exchange for these funds, the GOP should be adamant that the open-enrollment date for 2015 Obamacare benefits be shifted from next November 15 to October 15. Amid Obamacare’s catastrophic launch, Obama decreed last November 22 that the open enrollment period for 2015 Obamacare coverage would begin in mid-November – just after the midterm elections. How convenient!
Republicans are on firm moral and political ground on this one: The American people should know their impending health-insurance costs before they go to the polls on November 4. If open enrollment starts October 15, Americans will be able to see if Obama delivered on his promise of “quality affordable health care.”
If so, Democrats may keep the Senate and perhaps gain seats in the GOP House.
And if not, Democrats will get it at the ballot box — good and hard.
Republicans should argue that if the unemployed receive benefits for three months, the American people should be given an additional month to see what Obamacare will do to them next year – and then vote accordingly.