Republicans Hold Benefits Hostage for Working Families to Give Millionaires, Billionaires $100,000 Unpaid Gift

GOP Wishes 43,700 Wisconsin Workers a 'Happy Holidays' End to Unemployment Benefits

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s three incoming Republican Congressional legislators have remained silent while GOP congressional leadership holds aid for 43,700 unemployed Wisconsinites hostage in order to secure passage of the Bush tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

“Nearly 44,000 unemployed Wisconsin workers will lose their benefits because Congressional Republicans refuse to budget unless the Bush tax breaks are extended for millionaires and billionaires,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Meanwhile, Ron Johnson, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy are quiet as obedient church mice.”

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor, 43,700 unemployed Wisconsin workers will lose their benefits this week if an extension of the unemployment benefits is not passed by Congress today. Republican legislative leaders have vowed continued obstruction unless Congress also extends the unpaid-for Bush tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires for incomes over $250,000. The average tax cuts for those making $1 million a year would over $100,000.

“Unlike the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, extending unemployment benefits will save Wisconsin families and help move the economy forward,” said Ross. “Families paying for food and shelter is not an extravagance, it’s a necessity to preserve our common humanity and decency.”

Wisconsin three current House Republican legislators, millionaires Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri and Paul Ryan, all voted against protecting unemployed Wisconsin families by extending the benefits. Under House rules, passage required a two-thirds majority, which fell short due to Republican opposition. Congress will need to act today in order to ensure 43,700 unemployed Wisconsin workers will receive unemployment benefits in December.

“Even before they have taken office, Ron Johnson, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy have with their silence put their party bosses ahead of 43,700 Wisconsinites and their families,” said Ross. “The Republicans’ Christmas Carol to Wisconsin is to have Tiny Tim go without food to pay for tax breaks for Ebeneezer Scrooge.”

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