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Lifeline for Thousand of Unemployed Ends Today Due to Congressional Inaction

April 4, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Because Congress failed to pass an extension before taking off for April recess, thousand of unemployed Americans will have their only source of income, unemployment insurance benefits, cut off starting today. That’s a big deal when 15 million Americans are out of work and Tim Geithner is saying things like, “[the unemployment rate] is going to stay unacceptably high for a very long time.”

The Hill reports:

Starting Monday, more than 200,000 unemployed Americans won’t see jobless benefits they’re expecting because Congress failed to act.

The interruption in benefits will last two weeks at a minimum, according to Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), since lawmakers return from spring break on April 12.  […]

Under the jobless benefits program that ends Monday, Americans out of work are eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. The program, aimed at helping jobless Americans stay afloat when new jobs aren’t readily available, gives an unemployed worker more than the 26 weeks of unemployment insurance normally available. But with the program ending, those out of work for as few as six months will see an interruption in their benefit checks.

“Odds are they have burned through savings, already asked for loans and gifts from family and friends if needed, so going for two weeks without a paycheck, especially if those two weeks are a time when rent or mortgage is due, is going to be hard,” Conti said.

Conti’s group estimates that 212,000 people will lose unemployment benefits in the first week that the program has elapsed. For each additional week that the program isn’t extended, another 200,000 jobless Americans will see an interruption in benefits, Conti said.

When Congress finally does act, they will likely pass a bill that gives back lost benefits retroactively:

Senate Democrats said they’ll try to pass an extension of the program that can be applied retroactively once Congress is back in session. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled a vote on cloture to end debate on the short-term extension for April 12.

The delay will still wreak havoc on state agencies that have had to send out thousands of expiration letters. And it’s likely that people who will be eligible under the retroactive extension won’t reapply for the benefits after receiving the letters. It’s not like everyone in America is following every little thing Congress does (as much as I may wish they would…).

Who’s to blame for the expiration of benefits? Take your pick…

1) Sen. Tom Coburn [R, OK] and Senate Republicans, who objected to unanimous consent on debating the bill because its spending was considered “emergency” and wasn’t offset, even though UI extensions are almost always considered “emergency” and exempt from pay/go?

2) House Democrats, who said they wouldn’t accept a one-week extension that both the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate said they could agree to in lieu of the 30-day extension?

3) Or Senate Democrats, who could have predicted GOP obstruction and scheduled cloture votes on the bill earlier so that they could get to a final vote on passage before they were scheduled to go on recess? [sorry, no link for this one because I haven’t seen this argument being made elsewhere].

The unemployment benefits extension bill, which would also extend some other expiring programs, is H.R. 4851.

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  • nmeagent 04/05/2010 5:56am

    Good. Unemployment benefits must not extend into infinity.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 04/06/2010 4:32am

    While I agree with you, unemployment cannot be extended indefinitely; I would have to counter with extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Our economy is in shambles, there are very few jobs being created out there, and people’s lives are in shambles out there. They need something to help them get by. Congress has shown where their skewed priorities lay. Instead of putting time and energy into job creation and getting the economy on it’s feet, they’ve spent the last year passing the biggest step towards socialism since the enacting of Medicare. For all you other people out there who blame the Republicans… think about this… What if the Dems put as much time and heart into job creation and unemployment extension as they did health insurance reform? Do you think you’d be sitting in your homes right now wondering how I’m going to make it to tomorrow? THINK about this people. The Democrats couldn’t care less about you than the Republicans do.

  • Comm_reply
    ktkelly 04/06/2010 5:10am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    When you describe what the Dems did on healthcare as socialism,it tells us all you’re either a fool or mis-informed.If anything,the HCR bill was another step towards the corporate takeover of this country.
    Secondly,the Rethugs are as evil and corrupt as people they are.Think about the illegal activity of the Bush/Cheney Regime? Just imagine if we had a Palin/McLame administration in the white house? There would be no unemployment extensions,more illegal wars,millions more jobless,penniless and hopeless.

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  • Comm_reply
    ktkelly 04/06/2010 7:56am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    Are you as ignorant as you sound?Liberal media?Socialism?Read a damn dictionary!Pull your self away from the Glenn Pecker Show.Unlike you,
    there are people in Congress that can multitask.I defend the facts and
    do not,like you,continue to repeat the lies heard from the Right Wing
    dominated echochamber.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 04/06/2010 5:31pm

    Poor reading comprehension. I think you might need to go back to school.

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  • Comm_reply
    justamick 04/07/2010 5:49am

    Lol, you have yet to make and EDUCATED argument! Lmao.

    OMG, too funny. The one who makes incoherent and uneducated arguments accuses me of being and uneducated troll. Oh, this is absolutely priceless.

    Oh my, that was a good laugh.

    That was the bell right? Time for you to return to Homeroom.

    btw, Amick is my family name. Show a little respect. I understand that maybe a foreign concept to a radical liberal lackey like you.

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    ktkelly 04/07/2010 9:14am
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    + -2

    Talk about incomplete sentences.You responses are childlike and your understanding of socialism versus corporatism is confusing at best.
    Here’s a new concept for you;read a book;maybe a history book with pop
    ups,so you can understand it as you go along.
    OH! there goes the bell: Time for your meds.

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    justamick 04/07/2010 10:10am

    Sometimes you’ve got to speak like a child to relate to one.

    Maybe your right, maybe I should switch from a book with words to a popup book with pictures. How has it been helping you? On second thought, That’s probably the problem you’re facing. Too many books with pictures in them, not enough with substance and logic. I’d hate to end up with such a jaded sense of reality. I’d suddenly start believing that the government and society as a hole actually OWES me something!

    Btw, you need to actually look up the words Corporatism and Socalism. I’m quite well versed in the definitions of both. You, on the other hand, are not.

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    ktkelly 04/08/2010 4:33am
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    + -1

    Along with your incomplete sentences,you have so many misspelled words.I guess you haven’t won any spelling bees in your illustrious
    farming career in the fine state of IDONO.

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    justamick 04/08/2010 6:13am

    One misspelled word and one letter that was capitalized when it shouldn’t have been. ZOMG! That’s SOOOO MANY! Damn, that was the only time I DIDNT use spell check… Shame on me.

    It’s interesting how you demean those who farm… You do realize that farmers are the primary reason you actually have vegetables? Or did you think that they magically appeared on the plate in front of you?

    Thank you for showing me just how disconnected from reality some Americans truly are out there. Well, I should say disconnected or willfully ignorant (as has become painfully obvious in this little spat with you).

    For the love of God, just be quiet. You’re pathetic.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 04/08/2010 6:20am

    Oh, and no I didn’t win any spelling bees. Want to know why? Because of presidents like Obama and his “Race to the Top” program that funnel money to other bigger schools and completely neglect those of us in rural communities that desperately need the money to fund school programs and materials.

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    ktkelly 04/09/2010 5:41am
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    + -1

    Finally,after all your squabbling,you have shown your cards.When you said in your earlier post that you weren’t a right winger,that wasn’t entirely true was it?You sir are just another
    delusional American that unloads all your disgust and hate onto a man who,in the short time as president,has done his best to
    navigate a system put in place by his corrupt and evil predecessor,and a history of a failed Rethuglican ideology.

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    justamick 04/07/2010 10:21am

    Hey, here’s a question for you… how will a history book help me understand two socio-economic concepts? Wouldnt that require a, oh I dont know, a Sociology book? I know, CRAZY concept. But then again, I’m an uneducated farm boy from Idaho. You see, they dont teach us to read or write where I come from. We’re just unleashed unto the country with our pitchforks and shotguns.

    Awww darn, sorry. Guess you missed that in your increadibly thought out and logical argument right?

    You crack me up.

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    ktkelly 04/07/2010 4:45am
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    + -2

    Complete sentences?

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    justamick 04/06/2010 5:34pm

    You defend nothing. You obviously know nothing.

    Ever heard of complete sentences?

    bye bye.

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    justamick 04/07/2010 4:11am

    Socialism is the direct control of industry by the government. If you do not see the EVENTUAL take over of yet another one of our countries industries, then I pitty you. I know this because I know what I’m talking about. I’ve already told you that I said this is the biggest STEP TOWARDS Socalism since Medicare was enacted. (see that’s where that thing you’re taught in grade school comes in, it’s called READING COMPREHENSION)

    Yes LIBERAL media. MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS are all prime examples of the obvious far left skew, just as Fox News serves as the only true example (because everyone else is far left) of far right media skewing. CNN has an obvious liberal leaning bias, but I’ve seen MUCH more centrist coverage from them than ANYONE else.

    For the record… I cannot stand (nor do I watch/listen to) Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh or FNC.

    Note: I CAPITALIZED key words just for you so that you can catch on to what is being said here.

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    ktkelly 04/07/2010 10:10am
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    + -1

    Can you please give all of us here an example of an industry that has been taken over by the government?There are programs such as Social Security that is run strictly by the gov.and medicare but those programs are 100% voluntary.
    You cannot be implying that the banks or auto companies have been nationalized?So tell all of us ignorant people,the industries in this country that are under the direct control of the government?

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 04/21/2010 7:00am

    “…the government got $2 billion in preferred stock and 61% of the company’s privately held common shares.” from

    This is, of course, referring to the US Government’s purchase of GM company stock.

    Did you know that this means that the US Government holds controlling stakes in the GM Corporation?

    I’m sure someone as intelligent and well informed on the issues as yourself could recognize this, but I’ve been wrong before.

  • mouseissue 04/05/2010 6:29am

    This jobless economic recovery is hammering millions of households.
    Even minimum wage jobs are very hard to find.

    If our rotten employment picture contiunes into infinity, we will ALL have something to worry about. It is expected that millions more people will lose their jobs before this starts to turn around. Many economists say that the “turn around” won’t be seen until sometime in mid 2011. THAT’S OVER A YEAR FROM NOW!!!

    Don’t let the temporary slowdown in unemployment rate fool you. The government has added tons of low-paying census jobs. These jobs will evaporate in July this year. When they do, the unemployment rate will continue it’s expansion.

    I am NOT lazy or looking for a handout!!!
    As someone who has been unemployed a very long time, unemployment benefits have been the only thing standing between my family and homelessness. Homeless families cost taxpayers far more than those collecting unemployment benefits.

  • Comm_reply
    catfarmman 04/05/2010 2:37pm

    I agree with you mouseissue, my benefits ran out last month and my wife and I are in a panic. I have been out of work for a long time too and have not even been able to get a job flipping burgers. I have been actively seeking employment since the day I was laid off. If we could only get more Americans, Republican & Democrat to see what kind of disaster this is going to cause.

  • joedee1969 04/05/2010 5:33pm

    Here is a good place about unemployment:

  • zombiexl 04/06/2010 12:57pm

    Unemployment was never meant to be a welfare system. Companies and employee’s have to pay into the unemployment insurance system. What is not collected is taken from those who are still working through taxes.

    This issue hits close to home for me. I have family and friends who are about to lose their unemployment. There is a problem where there are part time jobs out there and people would rather sit back and collect “free” money, than work 2 jobs to make ends meet. What has happened to people in this country. Forty year ago (admittedly before my time) if a guy lost his job he would go out and do what he needed to do to support his family. Nowadays, people think that the government is here to provide us with everything we need.

    As Gerald Ford is quoted as saying ‘A government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.’

  • nmeagent 04/07/2010 4:57pm

    So you want jobs? Though I realize saying this is like telling a heroin addict to stop shooting up, this will yield quick results:

    (a) Slash government entitlement programs and associated taxes like a proverbial Amazonian rain forest. This includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Pay out benefits to those who have paid into the program in proportion to their payments and accept no further funds for this purpose.

    (b) Greatly simplify the tax code and cut rates dramatically, especially for those individuals and corporations who actually create jobs. End punitive tax rates at the very least. You cannot support absurd tax rates for businesses and expect them to provide reliable levels of employment.

    © Abolish the federal reserve and return the dollar to some commodity standard like silver. This will effectively halt inflation and prevent the government from printing its way out of its obligations, while also bringing about most of (a).

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