A Wednesday afternoon blog post by Ways and Means Republicans suggests that blocking an unemployment benefits extension may have boosted the economy.
“What Happened Since Extended Unemployment Benefits Ended?” the post asks. “More Jobs and Less Long-Term Unemployment, for Starters.”
The post said the emergency unemployment compensation program assisted 24 million people over 5.5 years at a cost of more than $260 billion.
“Despite Democrat claims that spending on unemployment benefits ‘creates jobs faster than almost any initiative you can name,’ all this record-setting benefit spending has bought in recent years is the slowest jobs recovery on record,” the post said. Since benefits were cut off, employment is up 1.156 million, the labor force is up 1.29 million and the number of long-term unemployed is down from 3.878 million to 3.739 million, the post said.
A post earlier this week also ripped the idea, repeated often by Democrats, that unemployment benefits support job creation by putting money in the pockets of people who will spend it: "Democrats continue to promise extending unemployment benefits a 13th time will somehow create thousands of jobs. It won’t."
That post points to a paper suggesting that unprecedented unemployment benefits extensions caused unemployment to persist. (The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a full-year unemployment extension in 2014 would increase employment by 200,000 jobs on net at a cost of $26 billion.)
Josh Drobnyk, a spokesman for Ways and Means Democrats, ripped the GOP analysis.
"House Republicans are cherry picking economic data to rationalize blocking a simple up or down vote on legislation to extend unemployment insurance," he said in a statement to CQ Roll Call.
House Republicans so far have not proposed an extension of their own, although some senior Republicans are considering using an extension as leverage to push through other GOP priorities , such as small business tax cuts.