Extending unemployment benefits is this week’s battleground for Democrats versus Republicans.
Democrats look set to push the legislation through the Senate with the help of newcomer Carte Goodwin of West Virginia. They hope to show voters in an election year that they are the party responding to the plight of the unemployed.
Republicans had blocked the measure, demanding cuts elsewhere to pay for the $34 billion price tag and prevent it from adding to the U.S. budget deficit. They want to show voters that they are the party of fiscal restraint.
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich had a dig for President Barack Obama.
“The second biggest concern of the American people after jobs is deficit spending and the fact that this president has been like a teenager with a credit card … if he serves eight years under current plans he will double the national debt. He’ll borrow more than every previous president combined,” Gingrich said on NBC’s “Today” show.