Debt issues rise to top during unemployment benefits debate

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) had strong words for his Republican colleagues who spent the afternoon arguing that Democratic policies have put the country into a strained budgetary position. 

"We will continue on a short-term basis, we are going to continue to give you help,"Hoyer said. 

Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles BoustanyControversial House Republican gains national attention after filming Auschwitz video Democrats, Republicans must work together to advance health care Lobbying World MORE (R-La.), leading GOP floor debate, said "there is a better way to do this and that is to pay for this extension."

When Boustany praised the cooperation between Republicans and Democrats to draw down budget deficits, leading to an eventual surplus during the Clinton administration, Hoyer walked back to the microphone and asked why that type of work didn't continue while President George W. Bush was in office. 

During the debate over an extension of unemployment benefits Republicans have argued reducing the federal government's debt should be a top priority. 

With the nation's unemployment rate at 9.5 percent, Democrats have urged treating the bill as emergency spending. 

Senate Republicans balked at the idea, suggested the use of unspent stimulus money, and held up the bill for more than six weeks while as many as 350,000 people a week lost benefits. 

The measure passed the Senate on Wednesday night 59-39 with two Republicans — Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP wrestles with soaring deductibles in healthcare bill Sunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief The GOP Wonder Women who saved healthcare for 22 million MORE and Olympia Snowe of Maine — supporting the measure. 

The bill, which is expected to be signed quickly by President Obama, provides up to 99 weeks of benefits in the states with the highest unemployment rates. The long-term jobless in every state are eligible for the benefits once state benefits run out after 26 weeks. 

Lawmakers will face the question again November, when this bill expires, on whether to provide another extension, for how long and if there's a way to pay for it. 

One of the largest problems facing the economy is a lack of job creation — again with each party blaming the other for the economy's issues. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday, "In all likelihood, a significant amount of time will be required to restore the nearly 8 1/2 million jobs that were lost over 2008 and 2009."

The Fed expects the unemployment rate to remain above 9 percent and possibly between 9.2 and 9.5 percent through the end of 2010. 

"Moreover, nearly half of the unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. Long-term unemployment not only imposes exceptional near-term hardships on workers and their families, it also erodes skills and may have long-lasting effects on workers' employment and earnings prospects."

On today's bill there were 31 Republicans supporting and 10 Democrats opposing. 

The 10 Democrats opposing, including nine members of 54-member fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, were:  Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Heath Shuler (N.C.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.) Glenn Nye, (Va.), Betsy Markey (Colo.), Walt Minnick (Idaho) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.).

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) is the only Democratic lawmaker voting against the measure who isn't a Blue Dog. 

For Republicans, six members of the Florida delegation and four from Michigan and Pennsylvania backed the bill. 

There were 31 Republicans voting for the measure: Reps. Brian Bilbray (Calif.), Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Ahn "Joseph" Cao (La.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoPro-ObamaCare group targets key senators in new ads Senate heads to new healthcare vote with no clear plan OPINION | GOP healthcare attack is a vendetta against President Obama MORE (W.Va.), Michael Castle (Del.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Vern Ehlers (Mich.), Jim GerlachJim GerlachFormer reps: Increase support to Ukraine to deter Russia With Trump and GOP Congress, job creators can go on offense Big names free to lobby in 2016 MORE (Pa.), Dean HellerDean HellerPro-ObamaCare group targets key senators in new ads Overnight Healthcare: CBO predicts 22M would lose coverage under Senate ObamaCare replacement 40 million fewer people expected to vote in 2018, study finds MORE (Nev.), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (Ill.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Steve LaTourette (Ohio), Frank LoBiondo (N.Y.), Don Manzullo (Ill.), Thad McCotter (Mich.), Tim Murphy (Pa.), Tom PetriTom PetriCombine healthcare and tax reform to bring out the best in both Overnight Tech: Internet lobby criticizes GOP privacy bill | Apple sees security requests for user data skyrocket | Airbnb beefs up lobbying Dozens of former GOP lawmakers announce opposition to Trump MORE (Wis.), Todd Russell Platts (Pa.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Dave ReichertDavid ReichertWorking together on children’s healthcare House passes 'Kate's Law' and bill targeting sanctuary cities Time to fix our national parks MORE (Wash.), Mike Rogers (Mich.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Michael Turner (Ohio), Fred Upton (Mich.), Ed WhitfieldEd WhitfieldWhy Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? Overnight Energy: Green group sues Exxon over climate science MORE (Ky.), Don YoungDon YoungAlaska lobbies for defense boost after North Korea launch Puerto Rico statehood bid a total failure Lawmakers move to protect funding for climate change research MORE (Alaska), C.W. Bill Young (Fla.).