Pelosi Defends Democratic Position on Jobless Benefits

Posted July 20, 2010 at 1:00pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that Democrats were right to stick to their guns and reject GOP calls to pay for an extension of expired unemployment benefits.

Asked whether she thought the seven-week lapse in jobless benefits — which resulted because Senate Democrats couldn’t break a GOP filibuster on the issue — was worth it to prevent establishing a precedent that unemployment extensions must be paid for, Pelosi said she believed it was.

“It is a path that you cannot go down,” the California Democrat said while leaving a Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday.

Pelosi said “the contrast is very clear” between Democrats’ and Republicans’ positions on the jobless aid, adding that “inconsistent” was the “nicest” word she could use to describe Republicans’ policies on jobs and the economy.

Senate Democrats are expected this afternoon to break a GOP filibuster and pass a stalled extension of unemployment benefits. The vote comes just as West Virginia Democrat Carte Goodwin is sworn in to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D). Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the House could clear the bill on Wednesday.