PubliColaTV: Cantwell touts Unemployment Insurance Extension at Seattle YWCA

By:  Bryce McKay

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell held a press conference today at the YWCA on 3rd Avenue in Belltown to explain her votes for the $34 billion emergency extension of unemployment benefits.

The GOP was against the emergency spend because it wasn’t paid for. Republicans like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) led the GOP opposition to the measure—which passed on a party line vote save ‘Yeas’ from Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and a ‘No’ from Ben Nelson (D-NE)—proposing $34 billion in cuts to pay for it.

I asked Sen. Cantwell about that and a follow-up question about her Democratic colleague Sen. Patty Murray’s reelection race. Murray’s main opponent Dino Rossi has repeatedly used Murray’s Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) vote against her. (Murray voted to reinstate PAYGO rules on budgeting in January.)

What Rossi leaves out, though, is that the unemployment insurance measure was an emergency budget item—like war appropriations that he supports—which don’t, and never have, been subject to PAYGO.

And as Cantwell points out, the GOP has very little cred on PAYGO anyway—they suspended the rules during the Bush years.