Jobless Benefits Undecided By the Senate

    January 14, 2014
    Jennifer Curra
    Comments are off for this post.

Jobless benefits expired for more than 1.3 million Americans on December 28, 2013. Since that date the total number of long-term unemployed Americans has increased to 1.4 million. The issue was raised today in the U.S. Senate however Republicans and Democrats could not reach an agreement on the best course of action for determining long-term jobless benefits. According to Senator Jack Reed, “This is a dispiriting moment for millions of Americans.”

On Tuesday, Democrats rejected the Republican proposal to extend benefits for three months, which would have cost $6.5 billion. Republicans rejected the Democratic proposal to extend benefits until the middle of November, which would have ultimately cost $18 billion.

President Obama recently gave a speech entitled the “Importance of Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance” during a press conference where he spoke about the importance of continuing unemployment benefits. “But although the economy has been growing and we’ve been adding new jobs, the truth of the matter is, is that the financial crisis was so devastating that there’s still a lot of people who are struggling. And, in fact, if we don’t provide unemployment insurance it makes it harder for them to find a job.”

Obama spoke about specific cases where citizens are presently struggling to find employment. “And this insurance helps keep food on the table while Dad is sending out résumés. It helps Mom pay the rent while she’s learning new skills to earn that new job. It provides that extra bit of security so that losing your job doesn’t mean that you have to lose your house, or everything you’ve worked so hard to build for years. We make this promise to our fellow Americans who are working hard to get back on their feet, because when times get tough, we are not a people who say, you’re on your own. We’re a people who believe that we’re all in it together. And we know, ‘there but the grace of God go I,” the president said.

The White House released a statement today in response to the Senate indecision (placing blame on Republicans) that read as follows: “It’s very disappointing that Republicans in the Senate chose to block action tonight on a compromise solution to extend emergency unemployment insurance for 1.3 million Americans who have been actively looking for a job and have now had this vital lifeline cut off. We will continue to work with both sides to find a solution because the cost of inaction is simply too high.”

Image Via Wikimedia Commons

  • JT

    All the people in congress are millionaires several times over and they don’t care about the people. I hate to tell America but we are becoming a two class system. You better take back your country before it is too late. It may already be too late.

  • will

    *since 2009, average unemployment has gone up from an average of 20 weeks up to 40 weeks. [source: NYT, labor dept]
    *avg business taxes in OECD countries: 25.47%; avg business taxes in the US: 39.26% [source: WSJ]
    *number of increased business regulations from 2010: 28; with an addition of 219 regulations pending, which adds a burden of $100million to the economy plus overhead to all businesses. From 1900s to today, government regulations on businesses has increased by 7X.[source: business news]
    *2011: 22% surveyed said increased government regulations is the primary cause of overhead. This is the largest share of concerns from small businesses on profitability, hiring and survival. Add to 5% and 9% respectively concerns of healthcare regulation and poor government leadership.[source: atlantic journal,Gallop]

    Bottom-line: when I step back and look at the whole picture, unemployment benefits is a band-aid. The real problem is the big government getting in the way. …and helping only the big businesses, not the small businesses which are the heart of main street. Government has forgotten how to create environments that cause businesses to thrive. They have forgotten that the reason America was founded was for freedom, for taxation, a flowing currency, and the freedom of religion.

  • Kevin Landers

    At the age of 56 years of age I received notice my unemployment has ran out, this is the second time in my lifetime this has happened. I work the construction trades, the economy has been affected by corporate greed, and deregulation that is taking us back to the J.P.Morgan / Rockefeller / Carnegie Steel days. Where they own and direct the Republicans. The small people are getting stepped on once again. Like ants under the feet of the giants.

    These monopolies need to be divided once again, as they cry for more deregulation, under the false guise of providing more jobs. What they really provide is additional wealth for the few greedy at the top.