Senate Does not Pass 3 Month Extension on Unemployment

Ryan Palko `14

The game of politics moves at the pace of snails, especially in Washington. Politicians seem to be making tons of policy changes. The reality of Washington is that the system is intentionally broken and legislation has to jump through many hoops before it becomes policy.  Thus, political gridlock in the nation’s capital is an everyday occurrence. Today Senators ardently tried to push legislation for a 3 month extension on long-term unemployment benefits.  The operative word in the preceding sentence was tried. These 59 Senators, a coalition composed of 55 Democrats and 4 Republicans, fell short of breaking a Republican filibuster and advancing the legislation. Democrats have been pushing for legislation to renew unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans who were cut when the benefits expired last year. This number of Americans has grown to 1.7 million who need unemployment benefits.  Amid the Democrats crying for renewed legislation, Republicans have taken a staunch stance against such legislation. The only way Republicans would endorse jobless aid is under strict stipulations. The legislation must be paid for and stimulate job growth. Even if this legislation would have passed the Senate, it would have gone to the Republican controlled House and be immediately shot down. Amid the political gridlock and lack of bipartisanship, the essential question that arises is regarding priorities. Should financial security be obtained at the expense of people’s basic needs being met? Can we walk the fine line between these two areas?  Engaging these questions extend beyond Democrats and Republicans duking it out in Washington, but to Catholic Social Teaching.

As students attending St. Edward High School, an institution that is founded in the Holy Cross tradition, we are called to make the ethically sound decisions in these circumstances. We are called to be our “brother’s keeper.” This means taking care of those around us. I am not here to make decisions or impose my opinions, but there are serious questions that arise from this matter. These questions are to stimulate thought on this topic and not to endorse a political ideology. Since we are called to take care of others in society I felt that it was fitting to tie a Bible verse in. Matthew 25:36, Jesus says, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” This verse affirms our duty to standup for those in need. What decisions can be made that help people while remaining financially secure? It is obvious that both parties are firmly rooted in their beliefs. Is this decrease in bipartisanship wrong and detrimental to the country? The main point I have been dancing around is the essential ideological question of this article; should the government get involved? If so, how much and in what manner? These questions are at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching and essential to developing ourselves as men rooted in ethics and logic.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/us/politics/senate-fails-to-advance-unemployment-extension.html?_r=0

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