In Praise Of Brewer For Jobless Stance
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Vilified For Gaffes and Policies, Takes On Her Own Party Over Extending Unemployment Benefits
Jan Brewer in her official photo.
By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine .com
June 14, 2011 — When Gov. Jan Brewer rejected federal funds that help fund the Arizona Health Cost Containment System in order to balance the state budget while cutting business taxes earlier this year, she was lambasted by many for promoting republican dogma over common sense and humanity.
This was the same woman who won her seat by demonizing illegal immigrants and fostering SB 1070. She is republican party lifer who was seemingly in favor of cutting all state welfare programs, if she could.
But then, she decided to take on her party and support extending unemployment insurance by calling a special session of the legislature last week. The dogmatists reacted as expected — by doing nothing but reject it whole-heartedly — and Brewer found herself allied with democrats.
“I didn’t act lightly this week when I called the legislature into an emergency special session. The minor statutory change that I’ve proposed would extend federally-funded unemployment aid for as many as 45,000 Arizona families in need, while keeping nearly $3.5 million a week flowing into the local economy. There is no state cost, and no future state obligation,” Brewer said Friday, “I understand that some legislators have concerns about the extension of unemployment aid. They worry about the federal deficit. So do I. But you don’t balance the federal budget by turning your back on Arizonans in their time of need. That’s not principled fiscal conservatism. It’s just cruel. And we are better than this.”
While state republicans just shrugged it off and proved they did, in fact, wish to wage a federal battle on the backs of out-of-work Arizonans, Brewer’s new democratic allies didn’t pull any punches. They called the lack of action an attack on people who were unemployed, many of them because of the slumping economy, not because they are lifelong welfare recipients.
“Shame on republicans for holding unemployed Arizonans hostage while they play political games,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “They are not on your side and they are turning their backs on Arizonans who were laid off, unemployed and struggling to put food on the table. They could have fixed this back in April. They could have fixed this on Friday. Arizonans should consider today strike three.”
While to many this issue seems to have come from nowhere, it had actually been part of the democratic agenda for months. They initially proposed it in April but the change was easily defeated by republicans, who hold super-majorities in both chambers.
“This is absolutely outrageous that they can’t make a one-word change that virtually costs the state nothing,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley. “If we don’t make use of our own tax dollars, another state will get them. It’s time to hold republican lawmakers, who have total control of state government, accountable for their inaction on this. The governor, minority democrats and Arizonans are all calling for this fix. This is the prime example of how republicans just aren’t on your side.”
All republicans besides Jan Brewer, it seems, and she should be applauded for it.
Who would have thunk it?