Van Hollen: Rand Paul’s Comments On Unemployment Benefits ‘Ridiculous’

AP

Top Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD) on Monday blasted Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) argument against extending unemployment benefits as “absurd” and “demeaning.”

Paul said on “Fox News Sunday” that Congress would be doing a “disservice” to workers by extending unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the year. Employers tend to hire people who haven’t been out of work for extended periods of time, he argued.

“With all due respect to senator Rand Paul, this is a ridiculous argument,” Van Hollen said on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.” “Here he is blaming people who are out of work through no fault of their own, who are still looking for work and that’s a condition of continuing to receive unemployment compensation.” 

The Maryland Democrat then pointed out that long-term unemployment has not changed, despite the U.S. unemployment rate falling to a five-year low in November. 

“We had very powerful testimony last week from people who had been out there working very, very hard. Some of them had lost their jobs because of the very deep, across-the-board sequester cuts,” he said. “They had a stack two feet high of applications they had submitted for jobs and hadn’t gotten a job yet. So for Rand Paul to say, you know, ‘We’re going to really do you a favor, we’re going to cut off the little compensation that you’ve got for your family and that’s going to do you good’ is absurd and demeaning.”

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Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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