On Tuesday night, the Huffington Post’s headline read, “Harry Reid Cuts Unemployment Insurance Proposal In Half To Get GOP Votes.” Based on the headline, one might have reasonably thought that that the GOP had finally forced the Senate majority leader to spend fewer public dollars on a program that was supposed to be temporary, and is an inferior way to improve the economy when budget cuts and tax and regulatory reform would do the job in a spectacular fashion.
Instead, Reid simply cut the length of the program’s existence in half, and included retroactive application from the beginning of the calendar year. Under his new legislative plan, benefits would be extended for a total of six months.
The Huffington Post made this appear to be a compromise of epic proportions, since Reid only needs one more Republican to abandon the filibuster in order to pass the benefits. However, history has shown that these “temporary” benefits will keep being renewed even though the government says the recession officially ended nearly five years ago.
So, no, Senator Reid has not finally and belatedly compromised for the sake of those who still suffer from our government-induced recession and pitiful recovery. All he’s done is make sure we’ll have this fight in a few months, right before an election, when he can really hammer the GOP and hope to keep the Senate in Democratic hands.