U.S. Senate Republicans say they won’t vote for anything until a deal on tax cuts is on the table. Democrats in the U.S. House say an extension of unemployment benefits is the most important priority.
The last extension on unemployment benefits ran out on Tuesday. That means more than 450,000 Californians won’t get unemployment checks.
Democrats, who lose control of the House next month, launched a major push to pass another extension during this lame duck session. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and more than 100 union members to demand an extension.
Solis said those losing their benefits are "our family members, our friends, our neighbors, our relatives. That means millions of families that are going struggle to put food on the table or to buy medicine or to put in a tank of gasoline, which right now in the city of Los Angeles goes for $3.23."
Pelosi accused the GOP of adhering to a double standard – seeking unfunded tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans without paying for them. She said those tax cuts would add $700 billion to the federal deficit, compared to $18 billion for the extension of unemployment benefits.