The Ed Show | November 20, 2012
>>> show." thanks for watching tonight. it's happening again. the millions of americans who have been hit the hardest by the recession are becoming a political pawn for the republicans . on december 2th, millions of americans could lose the only income they've got. emergency unemployment compensation . that's on the line. it will end if congress doesn't act. the republicans want to trim the budget and leave americans without a safety net . more than 12 million americans are still unemployed. 5 million have been out of work for more than 27 weeks. federal unemployment insurance helps them feed their families while they look for work. they are up against one of the worst job markets in decades.
>> grew up with the idea, you work hard, go to school and keep working hard and life was going to be okay. and it's just not true anymore.
>> i know we have the unemployment office, but if there's not any jobs to have, they can't send them anywhere.
>> keep hoping that, you know, the person next to me doesn't have it as bad as i do.
>> the republicans want to go after it it. unemployment benefits aren't just a hand out, they are one of the most cost effective way to boost the economy. they will danger the economy if they don't renew benefits. cutting benefits would reduce it by $58 billion next year. unemployment benefits lifted more than 2 million americans out of poverty last year. 600,000 of them were children. extending unemployment benefits will help those families and help the economy. those benefit checks shouldn't be trade bait for the republicans when they come to the table to talk about how to move the country forward financially. why pick on the most vulnerable? the republicans always seem to love to do that. joining me now is barbara lee of california. great to have you with us. i know you have personally worked hard on this and been an advocate for those less fortunate in our economy. are republicans going to hold unemployment hostage in these negotiations?
>> i'm so glad you're focusing on this because of course, we have now, as you said earlier, so many people who will lose their unemployment benefits on december 29th . we have 2.1 million people who could lose these benefits. and i have to tell you, i hope that the republicans understand that many of these individuals are their constituents. unfortunately, during the last negotiations, unemployment benefits were reduced from 99 weeks to about 73 weeks. i could not support that. i hope this time around that those who are unemployed are not put on the chopping block in terms of their benefits being cut. we have nearly 50 million people living in poverty, 16 million of whom are children. and we need to help people until we turn this economy around. this is a safety net . it's a bridge over troubled waters .
>> it's not a bargaining chip? in the lame duck session of the congress, the republicans were willing to extend these benefits for one year to get two years of an extension to the bush tax cuts . is that off the table?
>> i'll tell you one thing, let's hope that's not on the the table. i don't want to see the most vul vulnerable, the working poor , in of these poem who are in the ranks of the poor are the working poor . we don't want to see people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, the long-term unemployed, they do not need to be part of the game that's being played to get to some kind of an agreement. we need to make sure that they are not a pawn in this and we do not balance the budget or, you know, move forward on this cliff. i call it a human cliff with them being at risk. so we have to make sure that the millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share and make sure the most vulnerable are protected.
>> let me play devil's advocate here. a lot of things are ending up off the table here. the democrats want to raise taxes on the wealthiest americans . you don't want to hit social security , medicare or medicaid. where are you willing to give up? if unemployment benefits , if the weeks aren't going to be reduced, where would you suggest going?
>> well, i have to tell you first of all, we can't go into cutting those who have already paid a big price for the last deal. we need to look at defense, ed. when you look at where we can e cut, there's billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse at the pentagon. when you look at the huge tax cuts of millionaires and billionaires, we need to make sure we do not extend those tax cuts . when you look at the oil subsidies that oil companies received, there are many ways to move forward and stop this human cliff from occurring, but we do not need to go with seniors, we do not need to do this on the the backs of low-income individuals and the poor. it doesn't make any sense. it's not fair and it's morally wrong.
>> i think it's morally wrong and it's not fair. there is a moral obligation to help the poor and those trying to recycle back into the economy. but do you feel confident that the democrats will hold the line for the less fortunate?
>> i feel very confident the democrats will hold the line for the least fortunate. when you look at what's happening in our districts, we have people who are unemployed. we have the long-term unemployed. and we have people who want to work. we need to create jobs and invest or resources in job creati creation. that's who you we turn the economy around and reduce the deficit.
>> congresswoman barbara lee , thank you for join iin ining us.
>>> allen west finally calls it quits. tonight we're talking to the congressman-elect patrick murphy , the man who beat the tea party fire brand.
>>> then the attack on susan rice goes beyond politics. the republicans are getting back at some old habits and nasty name calling. we'll break their code when we come back.