CNN's Cuomo Slaps Republicans for Taking Americans 'Hostage' Over Spending Cuts

CNN's Chris Cuomo pounded Republicans on Tuesday's New Day for demanding offsetting spending cuts in exchange for extending jobless benefits.

"Are they holding these people hostage? I mean, shouldn't these be extended and then have a legitimate jobs policy discussion?" Cuomo asked in disbelief of Republicans holding out for a deal on jobless benefits. Cuomo is the brother of New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, and once again sounded like a Democratic strategist going after Republicans.

He arrogantly insisted that the benefits be immediately extended without offsetting cuts:

"Fair criticism that these needy individuals and families, which is pretty inarguable, are being somewhat held hostage by what we're calling a debate because extending the benefits seems like somewhat of a no-brainer given the absence of job market or any better prospects."

Cuomo did sound puzzled by the Democrats claiming the benefits would create 300,000 jobs, but he ultimately saved his worst criticism for the Republicans opposing the benefits' extension.

And his sloppy analysis framed the Republicans as in opposition purely out of concern for "job growth": "And the Republicans are saying, well, we're against it because this will freeze job growth."  

However, according to this CNN.com piece, Republicans wanted to extend the benefits as long as other spending cuts would be enacted. "Republicans say they, too, want to help, but want to offset the $6.4 billion price tag with cuts elsewhere," the article read.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on New Day on January 7 at 7:29 a.m. EST:

[7:29]

CHRIS CUOMO: What's your take on this, John? Fair criticism that these needy individuals and families, which is pretty inarguable, are being somewhat held hostage by what we're calling a debate because extending the benefits seems like somewhat of a no-brainer given the absence of job market or any better prospects.

But the Democrats are saying this is also a job program and they have a CBO report that says it will give you 300,000 jobs, which is odd, right, that you're going to use unemployment benefits to stimulate the economy. And the Republicans are saying, well, we're against it because this will freeze job growth. Are they holding these people hostage? I mean, shouldn't these be extended and then have a legitimate jobs policy discussion?

KING: That is part of the debate here in Washington. And look, you can go back to the Clinton days where we had the welfare to work argument. You can go back to this specific argument over long-term unemployment benefits, which has happened several times in recent years. This is one of the problems in Washington when you do everything on a deadline. You do everything on a deadline, and the people who are affected – and whether you're a viewer watching who thinks they should definitely extend these benefits period, do it with emergency spending and then deal with how to pay for it, or you think wait a minute, we have to pay for these things. That's a healthy debate, it's a fair debate. And it's an honest debate. But doing it at the deadline, when families are out there already struggling so much just out of the holiday season, which probably wasn't great, for people either on unemployment or waiting to get – find out if their unemployment gets extended, that's where you get the human element again, that's often missing from this debate. So my take is if this first chapter of this debate can actually lead to a months-long conversation about what to do about these issues, amen. It's about time.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014