By Jueseppi B.
Instead of overpaid Washington D.C. politicians giving opinions on FuckADuckDynasty and that entire fiasco, they should be doing their jobs and extending American unemployment insurance benefits that expire in 8 days.
11:30 AM EST
1.3 million Americans are about to lose a vital lifeline of unemployment insurance benefits if Congress doesn’t act. This is money that helps pay the bills while folks work hard to find their next job.
And it gets worse: If we don’t do anything in 2014, an additional 3.6 million Americans will lose their benefits.
After Jan. 1, 1.3 million Americans will lose their benefits, so extending them is vitally important. In addition to simple fairness, the benefits are an economic boon since those who receive them spend the money on essentials such as food and shelter; they don’t save it or give it to a hedge fund.
As Ezra Klein pointed out today in The Washington Post, unemployment for five weeks or less has dropped nicely, but long-term unemployment, which lasts more than 27 weeks, has not.
“No one has a very good answer for these workers,” he wrote. “They’re often stuck in areas of the country where jobs are scarce. They face a vicious cycle of employment discrimination in which employers don’t want to hire them because they’ve been unemployed for so long, which in turn extends their unemployment and makes it even harder for them to find a job. And now we’re just cutting them loose.”
To be clear, the benefits extension was not even included in the budget talks. Paul Ryan and the other Republicans bet that Democrats, eager for a sequester deal, wouldn’t insist on unemployment at this stage. And they were right.
But don’t mistake this for a problem with Congressional process. It’s not. It comes from deep ideological opposition among right-wing Republicans to the very idea of unemployment benefits. Their view is that these benefits coddle people who should just by golly go out and find a job.
It will be a national disgrace if Congress does not help people who simply cannot find new jobs after being thrown out of work by the recession.
There’s a chance that Democrats can get the extension through before Friday, when lawmakers stop pretending to do something in Washington and go off on vacation so they can slurp up more cash from the campaign-finance troughs back home. But I’m not betting on it.
Thank you The New York Times.
President Barack Obama will continue to press Congress for an emergency extension of unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans who are scheduled to lose them on Dec. 28, one of his top economic advisors said on Friday.
National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling told reporters that Obama will urge Congress to extend longterm unemployment benefits immediately upon returning from its holiday break, saying the “overwhelming majority” of those who will lose benefits are jobless “because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“These are not the people who caused the financial crisis, they are the victims of the financial crisis,” he said, noting the unemployed are only eligible for benefits if they keep looking for jobs.
At stake are the jobless benefits that kick in after a laid-off worker exhausts the first 26 weeks of unemployment. The first 26 weeks, known as state benefits, are funded by taxing employers. However, Ohioans are eligible for a maximum of 63 weeks of benefits, 37 of which are paid for by federal funding Congress must approve.
Democrats have proposed extending federal benefits for an additional year at $25 billion. Many Republicans have opposed an extension, calling it too costly. The two-year bipartisan budget bill that Congress approved to prevent another government shutdown did not extend unemployment benefits, despite efforts to include it in the package.
Statistics provided by Democrats indicate 39,000 Ohioans will lose the benefits on Dec. 28, and more than 128,000 would lose them later in the year without an extension.
All of Ohio’s Democratic members of Congress have signed letters that back extending the payments.
“We must do everything we can to support those who are still struggling following the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said a statement from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat. “These are hardworking Americans – many with children – who have fallen on tough times.”
Earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner told a news conference that he’d consider extending unemployment benefits, as long as they are paid for and as long as there are other efforts that will “help get our economy moving once again.”
“I have not seen a plan from the White House that meets those standards,” Boehner said.
In the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid said a number of Republicans – including his GOP colleague from Nevada, Sen. Dean Heller, say they’d back extending unemployment benefits without finding a way to pay for them elsewhere in the budget.
“I’m anxious to move forward on this,” said Reid, describing it as “a first item of business,” when Congress reconvenes after the holidays. “And of course we’ll try to make it retroactive for the days that we lose.”
Sperling said that nine of the past dozen times that emergency benefits were extended, they were not paid for, in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
“We, as always, will be open to working in a commonsense, constructive way to get this done,” Sperling said.
I wonder if there were a law that prohibited Congress from getting paid if vital issues were not resolved….would they actually stay in D.C. and get their work completed.
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