ICYMI: Scott Walker Says Extending Unemployment Insurance is a “Distraction”

Jan 05, 2014

Appearing yesterday morning on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Scott Walker made the mind-boggling claim that President Obama and Congressional Democrats were trying to extend unemployment insurance simply to distract from Obamacare.

More than 23,000 Wisconsinites lost their unemployment insurance benefits late last month after Republicans like Paul Ryan and Sean Duffy voiced opposition to an extension of benefits. And according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly 100,000 more Wisconsinites will lose unemployment insurance in 2014 if Congress fails to take action.

Besides just helping the families who receive the immediate benefit, extending unemployment insurance has positive economic benefits for small businesses and local economies. Unemployment insurance benefits are often spent immediately at local businesses on food and clothing, providing a needed stimulus to local economies. And according to the Council on Economic Advisors, extending benefits will help save 5,185 jobs in Wisconsin alone.

Walker’s flip remarks about unemployment insurance, an earned benefit, probably don’t sit well with the thousands of Wisconsin families struggling under his job-loss economy. The most current and accurate federal jobs numbers show Wisconsin ranked 37th in the nation in job creation. Meanwhile, recent public polling shows that 70 percent of Wisconsinites say that their personal financial situation has stayed the same or gotten worse since Scott Walker took office and more than 65 percent — nearly two–thirds of the state – think that Wisconsin’s economy will stay the same or get worse over the next year.

“Given the role his policies have played in stifling the creation of good-paying jobs in Wisconsin, Scott Walker should be first in line fighting for the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for the tens of thousands of Wisconsinites in need,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. “Unfortunately, Walker thinks earned benefits that are putting food on Wisconsin tables and keeping the heat on in this brutal winter are simply a ‘distraction’ from his Tea Party agenda.”