Pelosi: GOP Failure to Extend Unemployment Benefits Practically 'Immoral'

By Susan Jones | December 13, 2013 | 7:49 AM EST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says the Republican refusal to include unemployment benefits in the Ryan-Murray budget deal is immoral.

"It's interesting to note that they rejected unemployment insurance -- this is so unconscionable, it's practically at the level of immoral to do. The people who work hard, play by the rules, lose their job through no fault of their own, are not able to get -- continue to get an unemployment insurance check."

Again, as I say, not only is it a bad idea from a humanity standpoint, but from an economic standpoint. For every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, it grows the economy by $1.52, a dollar and a half."

Pelosi said failure to extend  jobless benefits will cost the nation 200,000 jobs next year.

Regular unemployment insurance provides benefits for up to 26 weeks, based on how long a person held a job. Extended benefits are available to people who have used up their 26 weeks.

The Ryan-Murray budget deal did not include a three-month extension, which means 1.3 million people will lose their unemployment insurance on Dec. 28.

"Unemployment insurance is insurance. It is part of a safety net, not for these individuals, but for our economy," Pelosi siad. She called it a "safety net" for "that wonderful free-market system."

Speaking Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said the fight isn't over.

"We were denied that vote, so that will be a big issue coming back in January."

Van Hollen says Democrats would pay for the extension of unemployment benefits by "getting rid of some of these very high, excessive agriculture subsidies."

But Pelosi said she doesn't think Democrats should have to find money to pay for the extension of jobless benefits:

"I don't even think it should be paid for, because you know why? It's an emergency. And we traditionally have not paid for unemployment insurance. It's insurance that has been paid into.

And so why -- it's a benefit that has been paid into, so why do we have to pay for it again? I don't think we should have to. But if it's the price that we have to pay to go forward on that, while we want to make this philosophical debate as to whether it's an emergency and should be paid for, still, these families are suffering."