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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Slow, Quiet Death of Extended Unemployment Benefits

Today's post was shared by Mother Jones and comes from

The Senate stumbled on a rare moment of bipartisan accord last month, when six Republicans joined Senate Democrats in passing an extension of unemployment insurance. Extended benefits for the long-term unemployed—measures enacted when the economy cratered at the start of the Great Recession—had expired at the start of the year, reverting back to the standard 26-weeks of assistance in most states. At that time, there were 1.3 million would-be-workers left in the cold. Each week since then, on average, benefits have lapsed for another 70,000 people, ballooning to just shy of three million people whose unemployment insurance has run out.
Under a deal crafted by Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the Senate's bill offered retroactive payments to that cohort, and extended those benefits through the end of May, with the idea of revisiting the topic for another renewal at that point. It was a rare, triumphant moment for this do-nothing Congress.
And then nothing. Since early April, any effort to help the unemployed has been bottlenecked by House Republicans. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) immediately put the kibosh on the Heller-Reed plan, rejecting the Senate's bill within days of its passage and calling on the White House to put forth a new separate plan. He demanded that any extension of the insurance program be paired with new job training programs, but he failed to offer ideas of his own, a sign that his stipulations were just a means to...
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