— Posts About Unemployment Extension

Millions to Lose Unemployment Benefits, Even if Extension Passes; New Course of Action Needed

Even if Congress manages to extend emergency unemployment benefits for more the millions of workers who could receive them, about four million others will see their benefits end over the next year, unless an entirely new program is created.  This is according to a report recently issued by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.  So, the crisis facing some now is going to be experienced by even more later, unless serious job-creating actions are taken.

You would think that the latest, terrible monthly jobs report would convince those in power that the Great Recession continues unabated, doing terrible damage to working families.  Those unemployed for long periods face especially long odds of finding work in today’s economy.  And, even for those with good jobs, wages are continuing to be cut as even profitable employers take advantage of the ongoing crisis for workers.

Misguided worries about the budget deficit are allowing Republicans and the Deficit Commission to pursue Social-Security-cutting, Medicare-slashing, job-destroying agenda instead of a program that can end the Great Recession and put people back to work.  A new course of action is needed, and responsible policy options are out there.  For instance, check out the program set out by Our Fiscal Security, a collaborative effort of Demos, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and The Century Foundation (TCF).

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Extended Unemployment Blocked by Republicans Again

Extended unemployment benefits — providing for up to 99 weeks of benefits — have expired again because of Republican obstruction.  Up to 2 million long-term job-seekers could lose their benefits by the end of the year.  Coverage can be found here.  Once again, Republicans oppose helping the unemployed in the name of the budget deficit, even as they stop all other business to protect tax cuts for the very wealthy.

Hopefully their obstruction can be overcome some time this month so that benefits do not lapse for long.  For the latest on benefits in North Carolina, look for information at the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

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Republicans Continue Assault on Unemployed Workers

Senate Republicans (with the help of one Democrat, Ben Nelson) have continued their filibuster of the Democrats’ jobs bill, mustering the 41 votes needed on Thursday to prevent the bill from passage.  Republican obstructionism will ultimately spell the end of extended unemployment benefits for millions, even as the economy is nowhere near creating significant job growth.

On top of that, failure to pass the bills means states will not receive the much-needed $23 billion to pay for sharply rising Medicaid costs.  (The great recession has swelled the ranks of those eligible for health insurance through Medicaid.)  Without this money, states will be forced to impose even greater cut backs, which will mean lost jobs for teachers and other state employees.

Republicans say they oppose the bill on the grounds that it raises the deficit, but what they really oppose are the small tax increases (such as one on hedge fund managers) that would be used to pay for the bill.  Disappointingly, the NY Times notes that the “Obama administration has not fought aggressively for the legislation.”  It appears the President is not focusing on jobs, which should be his highest priority.

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Republicans Continue to Hold Up Unemployment Extension in Senate

In a vote Thursday night, Senate Democrats were unable to overcome the Republic filibuster of the bill that contains the much-needed extension of unemployment benefits.  Even though the cost of the bill had been reduced to alleviate the (misguided) concerns of increasing the federal deficit, all Republicans and two Democrats maintained their opposition.  This bill would not only extend emergency unemployment benefits, but also provide aid to states for health care costs, and pay for that spending with increased taxes on oil companies and hedge fund managers.  Hard to argue with those ideas.  More coverage here.

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