No More Safety Nets!

December 16, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

The office of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has sent around a document preemptively attacking a new stimulus bill. This objection is perfectly in line with Republican thinking, but I’m still surprised to see it:

The bill includes $79 Billion for safety net programs (more than is actually supposedly dedicated to job creation), including:

  • Extension of unemployment benefits through June of 2010;
  • Extension of COBRA subsidies through June of 2010;
  • Extension of Increased Medicaid Matching Rates (FMAP) from December 31, 2010 to June 30, 2011; and
  • Extension of the refundable child tax credit to those with income less than $3,000 (under the original stimulus, families must have at least $3,000 in income to qualify).

Those are all pretty popular programs, and ones that voters would notice if they suddenly vanished. Attacking this stuff — and implying that a Republican majority would cut off these benefits — is something an opposition party can do, but something very hard to imagine a Republican congressional majority getting away with. See 1995 for evidence.