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 William BoustanyDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Americans worried about retirement should look to employee ownership Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns 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 Margaret CollinsGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees GOP senator: 'We were there' on immigration before talks got derailed GOP advances proposal to change Senate rules 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 Wellons Moore CapitoGOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Overnight Health Care: Trump's VA pick on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for nominee | Senate panel approves opioid bill | FDA cracking down on e-cig sales to kids Senate panel to vote next month on maternal mortality bill MORE (W.Va.), Michael Castle (Del.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Vern Ehlers (Mich.), Jim GerlachJames (Jim) GerlachPa. GOP 'disappointed' by rep retiring after filing deadline Pennsylvania Republican Costello won't seek reelection Republican Pa. congressman won't seek reelection: report MORE (Pa.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerRepublicans want Trump’s VA nominee to withdraw Heller leads Dem Senate challenger by 1 point: poll Senate GOP wary of new tax cut sequel MORE (Nev.), Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit MORE (Ill.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Steve LaTourette (Ohio), Frank LoBiondo (N.Y.), Don Manzullo (Ill.), Thad McCotter (Mich.), Tim Murphy (Pa.), Tom PetriThomas (Tom) Evert PetriBreak the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Combine 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 MORE (Wis.), Todd Russell Platts (Pa.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertMajor GOP super PAC expands field offices to 31 districts With bills on the table, Congress must heed the call to fix our national parks 107 House Republicans express 'deep concern' about Trump tariffs MORE (Wash.), Mike Rogers (Mich.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Michael Turner (Ohio), Fred Upton (Mich.), Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward 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 YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungPension committee must deliver on retirement promise Our leaders must end the hate before they burn America down Alaska rep denies suggesting armed Jews could have prevented Holocaust MORE (Alaska), C.W. Bill Young (Fla.).