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Opinion: Republican politics trump common sense, decency



By Phoebe Sweet

nevdemparty-300x61-3950770-1958641LAS VEGAS–While embattled Sen. John Ensign remains silent and allows a Republican colleague to obstruct a crucial, bipartisan extension of unemployment insurance, 20,000 Nevadans are at risk of losing the benefits that are helping them put food on the table.

It’s unclear why Sen. Ensign has remained silent on the issue, which affects more than 1 million Americans and tens of thousands of Nevadans who have been unemployed for more than six months. Why, as Nevada endures 13 percent unemployment, hasn’t Ensign spoken up against the inane obstructionist tactics being employed by his Republican colleague, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, when even other Republicans have expressed outrage?

Is it because he doesn’t support Nevada’s unemployed workers? Or is it because even if he spoke up, he’s lost any clout he once had thanks to fallout from a sex scandal and a subsequent ethics investigation? Or is it because he agrees with potential GOP Senate candidate John Chachas, who bragged about how a bad economy was good Republican politics?

Sadly, Ensign isn’t the only Nevada Republican who has remained silent on whether 20,000 unemployed Nevadans out of work in tough times deserve our help. GOP Senate candidates Sue Lowden, Danny Tarkanian and Sharron Angle have also stayed mum on the issue.

In Lowden’s case, it may be because some of the 176,000 Nevadans without jobs used to work for her casino company before she cut jobs while giving her husband a $200,000 bonus.

So, do they believe the 20,000 Nevadans who have been unemployed for more than six months don’t deserve our compassion or need unemployment insurance to make ends meet?

The one Nevada Republican who hasn’t remained silent on the extension of unemployment benefits is Rep. Dean Heller. He’s not afraid to say he opposes the extension of benefits to out-of-work Nevadans because he believes a helping hand during tough times will create a new generation of hobos.

“Staying silent on the disgusting and heartless obstructionist tactics being used by one Republican in Washington is as bad as joining him in his opposition to doing the right thing for unemployed Americans–including 20,000 Nevadans,” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director for the Nevada State Democratic Party. “While it’s disturbing that Dean Heller would call Nevadans who have fallen on hard times hobos, it’s not much better that Ensign and a cast of Senate hopefuls are unwilling to lift a finger to help Nevadans in need make ends meet.

“Maybe Ensign, Angle, Tarkanian and Lowden have never needed a helping hand. Maybe they’re so out of touch with the needs of Nevadans that they don’t even know anyone who’s ever needed a helping hand. Still, Nevadans deserve better than politicians who can’t even use basic common sense and decency to put themselves in the shoes of someone less fortunate.”

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Extended federal unemployment benefits end Sunday

Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) officials are reminding everyone who’s been receiving federal extended unemployment benefits that these programs end this weekend.