Extended unemployment benefits will temporarily expire for thousands of Americans on Monday because the Senate went on its spring recess without approving a one-month deadline extension.
The extension, which had bipartisan support, would have cost about $10 billion, but a lone Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn, said no until the costs are offset.
The Oklahoma senator objected to a commonly used unanimous-consent agreement to pass the bill under emergency conditions, even if it increases the federal deficit. Coburn wants to eliminate additional government spending to pay for the bill.
"The legitimate debate is whether we borrow and steal from our kids or we get out of town and send the bill to our kids for something that we're going to consume today," Coburn said on the Senate floor.
It's the second time a Republican has blocked a so-called "emergency extension" of jobless benefits.
Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning objected to adding to the deficit back in February.
"We can't do everything we'd like to do," Bunning said at the time. "We don't have the money."
Asked whether President Obama believes that the benefits extension should be paid for, Lawrence Summers, one of Obama's top economic advisers, said, "He believes that in an emergency, families who are depending on unemployment insurance to buy medicine for their kids should not have that unemployment insurance cut off."