The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

BuzzChatter Wednesday: Obama takes aim at critics of jobless benefits

01/07/2014 5:59 PM

01/07/2014 5:59 PM

Happy Hump Day.

• “I can’t name a time when I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job.” — President Barack Obama challenging critics of extending long-term unemployment benefits.

The president drew loud applause Tuesday from a group of jobless Americans when he made the remark following a Senate vote to move ahead with extending the benefits. Six Republicans voted with the 54 members of the Democratic caucus on the issue. Obama was targeting Republicans who have questioned the motivation of some unemployed workers. “That really sells the American people short,” the president said.

• “A new direction is necessary. Unfortunately, Dr. Yellen’s nomination demonstrated a commitment to the status quo.” — Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran on Tuesday explaining his opposition to Janet Yellen’s confirmation to become the first woman to head the Federal Reserve. The Senate voted 56-26 on Monday to confirm her.

Moran, a Republican, said he was dissatisfied with Yellen’s answers on the Fed’s asset-purchasing program, which he said could lead to “massive inflation.” He also questioned Yellen’s ability to “relieve the regulatory burden on community banks.” Time will tell if Moran is reading the economic tea leaves correctly or whether the Fed was instrumental in pulling the country out of its deep slump.

• “See for yourself what Girl Scout memberships and cookies REALLY support.” — a line in an e-mail flier from Missouri Right to Life about a meeting Wednesday night that focuses on pro-life concerns about the Girl Scouts.

The ominous promotional e-mail even has us at The Buzz wondering what’s going on here. For the record, neither Dave Helling nor Steve Kraske were ever Girl Scouts.

• “It was not until the union acquiesced to various reforms that Boeing made its decision to locate production of the 777X in Washington. That should serve as a powerful reminder that we need to have not only a low tax burden for all but also the agreement of organized labor to adhere to free market principles.” — Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican.

Here it comes. The GOP in Missouri wants to weaken unions. And Republicans are saying that Boeing’s decision not to build a commercial jet in the state is Example #1 why this needs to happen. Democrats were expecting the move. In a statement Tuesday, Jones said he wants to make Missouri “the 25th state in the nation that allows total worker freedom and choice.” This shapes up as potentially one of the most explosive legislative battles in recent years.

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