Before the holiday adjournment, a number of Congress members held forth on the short-term budget deal due to be reached before the end of the year. Meanwhile talking heads weighed in on Nelson Mandela's legacy. Rand Paul also suggests that offering jobless individuals extended benefits would be a "disservice."
On Fox News Sunday, Rand spoke against extending benefits to the jobless beyond 26 weeks. 1.3 million long-term jobless Americans will lose federal benefits if Congress fails to reauthorize the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. "I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers," said the libertarian, espousing a typically misplaced faith in the free market as a just terrain. MSNBC's Meredith Clark noted in response to the Kentucky Republican:
While Paul cited a study that suggested employers are less likely to hire workers who have been unemployed for many months, other studies have found that long-term benefits do not keep workers from seeking and finding employment. There are still approximately five workers for every open job, and the economy would need to add 8 million jobs to get back to pre-recession levels.
Meanwhile, on ABC's "This Week," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that the question of unemployment benefits would not be deal breaker for reaching an agreement on a short-term budget before the end of this Congressional session. “I don’t think we’ve reached that point where we’ve said, ‘This is it, take it or leave it,’” Durbin said. “Negotiations are making progress, moving in the right direction.”
Two days after the death of Nelson Mandela, a number of Sunday shows dedicated extended segments to his legacy. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had faced some vile censure from his conservative allies for his praise of the South African leader. Gingrich's are a living disservice to the sort of struggle Mandela engaged in. But Gingrich defended his praise for the man on CNN "State of the Union."
Everybody says they love freedom. Everybody who is proud of the farmers at lexington and concord who stood up to the British army, everybody who's grateful to George Washington for eight years in the field fighting the British empire," he said.
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Maya Angelou spoke emotively about Mandela. She recalled the day he was released from prison. "I was so proud to be an American. I was proud to be Black. I was proud to be a woman. I was proud to be a human being. I am still proud. When I saw him walk out, that's who I am. That's who I can be," she said.
"Meet the Press" host David Gregory also took a moment to recall his most significant memories of Mandela: