OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Schumer Promises Help for 99ers, But Skips the Details

August 2, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The most shocking data point on the unemployment situation in the U.S. isn’t that we’ve been above 9% for almost a year and a half now. It’s that the median length of unemployment for individuals currently is 26 weeks, which is twice as long as it has ever been since the government began tracking this data in the ‘60s. Anyone who is unemployed for longer than 26 weeks is considered “long-term unemployed” by the government. Right now, that’s about half of all unemployed people, and it will likely be more than half in the very near future. Here’s a graph from the St. Louis Fed laying it out.

Over the past two years, Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment insurance benefits beyond the normal 26-week period. Currently, unemployed individuals in states with high unemployment rates (above 8.5%) can receive up to 99 weeks of benefits. But all of those extended benefits are set to expire on November 30, 2010 and after that it will be back to just 26 weeks of benefits in every state. Furthermore, economists estimate that at least 1 million people have already exhausted all 99 weeks of their benefits (so-called “99ers”). By the time the current benefits extension runs out in November, that number will probably be closer to 2 million, and approximately 1.5 million people each week will be added to the ranks of the exhausts.

Unless, of course, Congress acts.

In light of all this, watch Sen. Chuck Schumer [D, NY] last week on WENY-TV:

Schumer says that a bill to help 99ers is coming — at some point — and gives no further details. In some sense, this is a step forward for the 99ers. It shows that members of Congress are hearing them and that they are starting take on the cause at least for their political advantage. But we don’t have enough information at this point to know if this is anything more than that. Here are a few things to watch for when the bill is introduced.

1) What, exactly, will Schumer’s legislation look like? Will it be straight-up additional weeks of benefits for 99ers, some kind of reemployment account program, or a job-training benefits program? The latter two options would probably have more support among conservative Democrats and Republicans, but they will also provide somewhat less support to the 99ers.

2) Does it have the support of the leadership (i.e. Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] and House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8])? If not, this is just a throw-away bill that Schumer plans to drop in the hopper and let die like 96% of all bills do. Of the 140 bills Schumer has sponsored this session, only 3 of them have become law. As we know, any member of Congress can introduce any bill they want, and they often introduce stuff they know has 0% chance of passing just to give themselves quick credentials on an issue. So far, Reid and Pelosi have been silent on help for the 99ers, so it’s possible that this is a lone-wolf effort on Schumer’s part and that it’s not really going to be a viable bill.

In the interview Schumer says “we” (i.e. “we’re gonna try to do that next”), so it’s possible that he’s referring to the Democratic caucus as a whole. But he could also be referring to himself and a few rank-and-file co-sponsors. We’ll be watching for statements of support from Reid and others when the bill is introduced. 

3) Will it be offset, and, if so, how? Over the past two years, support for extending unemployment benefits as “emergency spending,” which does not have to be offset under the Pay-Go law, has progressively weakened. In November 2009, the Senate voted 97-1 for such a bill. In March 2010, they voted 78-19 for another unpaid UI extension. And on July 20, 2010 they passed one with no votes to spare by a vote of 60-40. The trend is pretty obvious — as time progresses, there is less and less support for emergency unemployment insurance extensions. And in July the Democrats were stretched to their limit on their emergency UI bill. 

Many Republicans (plus Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson [NE]) say they would have voted for the July bill if its costs were offset with money taken from the Recovery Act. However, using stimulus money to fund another extension that includes help for the 99ers probably wouldn’t pass muster with most Democrats. They argue, rightly, that taking money out of the Recovery Act to pay for UI benefits neutralizes the stimulative effects of both. Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA] recently forced a vote on paying for the UI bill with Recovery Act money and it was opposed by all but two Democrats — Nelson and Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR].

So, if Schumer wants to pass this bill, he will probably have to offset its costs with new revenues and do it some way other than taking money from the Recovery Act. Off the top of my head, possibilities include closing tax loopholes on hedge funds, eliminating offshore-oil-drilling subsidies, or some sort of a financial transactions tax. None of those things would be easy, but it seems almost impossible for Schumer and the Democrats to pass extra unemployment insurance benefits and help for the 99ers without winning on one of these big, untapped revenue sources.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.


Displaying 1-30 of 139 total comments.

kaputter 08/05/2010 9:29am
in reply to jas73 Aug 02, 2010 4:19pm

Some jobs will never come back. Like Financial Services. I suggest you look at related fields, start your own business, or even take one of many open jobs THAT ARE OUT THERE. My cousin worked for Merrill Lynch as an admin asst’ She lost her job and will never get it back, at least in the financial services corps. She has gone back to school and is in the health care industry. She refuses to eat that govt cheese any longer than she has to.

bcarney 08/10/2010 2:47pm
in reply to justamick Aug 09, 2010 7:26pm


You shouldn’t make comments about the rest of the Americans in your posts because generalizing when you don’t know for sure is a sign of ignorance. I think that we are all aware that main stream media is biased and that they have their own agenda. This site is for discussing what is going on with unemployed Americans, sharing stories so that no feels alone during these hard times, and posting accurate information relating to “our” (99ers) plight. We have been hit the hardest and the longest in this recession through no fault of our own. Additionally, we are not the only one’s suffering as we have families/children who are suffering too.

bcarney 08/10/2010 2:49pm
in reply to bcarney Aug 10, 2010 2:47pm

Also Justamick,

We are all American and many of us have worked all of our lives, paying into taxes and watching the money (many times) go out to a cause that we may or may not agree with. However, this issue is on our own soil. We have worked so hard our whole lives and this is why we should be considered for an extension of help especially when no one is hiring. We want to work, but we are not getting call backs and/or interviews. We have sold our belongings, lost our homes and cars, and are now struggling to feed our children. Have a heart. This is an emergency and must be treated as such. If the shoe were on the other foot, I would be glad to have a couple of extra dollars taken out of my pay to feed your family and others.

bcarney 08/10/2010 2:51pm
in reply to bcarney Aug 10, 2010 2:49pm

The real question is why do these people, who make upwards of $200,000 a year,take long vacations, and waste so much time making critical and time sensitive decisions? If their salaries were reduced by something like $40,000 they would still live well and many families could survive with the revenue from that reduction. My point being there are ways to help these unemployed Americans in an emergency and rightfully so. Please don’t forget that we have paid taxes and their salaries for years as well and now we need some help. It is not our fault that the recession occurred nor that it is lasting this long so blocking an extension would be in no one’s best interest.

bcarney 08/10/2010 2:51pm
in reply to bcarney Aug 10, 2010 2:51pm

I don’t know where you work but when no one is spending many organizations are forced to lay off or go bankrupt, ultimately causing more job loss. Please respect the fact that your fellow Americans are struggling right now. We do not wish this on anyone, hopefully you and many others will be fortunate enough to sustain your employment but many of us have not been as fortunate. Please be more kind to people who are starving and aggrivated because it seems no one cares.

NewParadigm 08/02/2010 5:28pm

Idea: Stop war. That’ll save a few billion a month. Not enough? Stop “humanitarian aid” 2 foreign countries-if U can’t afford 2 feed UR own people, U can’t afford 2 give it away.

@ 99ers, stop defending URself. Justamick is entitled 2 an opinion. U have NOTHING 2 prove 2 anyone but URself. Use that energy 2 lobby Congress, improve job seeking skills or start a business doing what U love. Keep certifying UR unemployed status after U get cut off from compensation so the official unemployment rate resembles reality.

@ Justamick, After > 30 years of legislation that rewards business 4 outsourcing labor & importing products, rewarding greed & corruption w/ unfathomable wealth in a land w/ 1 job for every 5 seekers, the country absolutely does need 2 provide for basic shelter, food & necessary medical care. Unemployment compensation doesn’t even do that much.

We R the richest country in the world based on capitalistic ideals. What signal do U want 2 send about capitalism?

Tankweti 08/02/2010 5:03pm
in reply to justamick Aug 02, 2010 12:08pm

Lost my job 8/12/08. Entire dept med record transcription outsourced to India. I had 25 years+. NYS DOL says these jobs are in the top 10 most likely to be outsourced. Was already in nursing school part time. Started going full time. Grad in May 2010, cum laude, dept. honors, Intl Nsg Honor Society and guess what. Can’t find a job. I have applied plenty.With the exception of one employer who answered and said they had no new grad positions, no one has even bothered to respond to resumes, emails, etc. Now come to find out after the fact that it costs over $20,000 to train a new R.N. Read one post 2009 that a NYC hospital advertised 7 new grad positions and got 1,600 applicants. What do we retrain for next if there are no nursing jobs? Janitor positions? (That’s if we can find them.) So, don’t talk to me about not renewing unemployment benefits. This is necessary. Just like the other guy said, wait til it happens to you. And if you think it won’t you are living in a fool’s paradise.

t1mesup 08/04/2010 8:11am

It was a few weeks ago that Schumer said they are going to work on additional weeks for 99ers. A week later I, a 99er, called his office for status – we needed them to do something before they take another vacation – and his clerk told me yes he is working on something along with a few others but they decided to let Sen. Stabenow draft the bill/act and to call her office.
I called her office and the clerk said yes she is drafting legislation to add more weeks for the 99ers. I cried. That was over a week ago. I do not have a phone any longer or money for gas. I have been begging people on the Internet to please call her office for status. Can one 99er please call for status? If you don’t bother calling it must not mean very much to you. Don’t you want to know?
Please call Senator Stabenow’s office and ask the clerk for an update. (202) 224-4822
Thank You

beenblue 08/03/2010 11:10pm

justamick, you don`t bring any understanding to your comments except to antagonize these poor victims of the new world order. You would do better to voice your opinions with Fox, as you would be praised for being so selfish, and self centered in the midst of a global meltdown. And if you need a reminder, unemployment is not free money, the government only gives back a fraction of what it`s taken over a lifetime!!!! and if you`r worried about the deficit, I would bet that you didn`t say a word for 8 years during the Bush agenda.

ExGOP 08/03/2010 6:36pm

Insurance is not welfare, or it would be called unemployment welfare. Using the word, welfare, implies the unemployed are not willing to work and are lazy.

justamick – If you have a problem paying U.S.A. taxes, why don’t you move to Afghanistan (they don’t pay taxes over there).

Last word freak! Changing your blog name is not fooling anyone.

justamick 08/05/2010 7:05am
in reply to ExGOP Aug 04, 2010 12:37pm

Just change my user name again? What exactly was my username before? You’re just an ignorant moron. Stop being a pawn of the ultra-liberal left wing mainstream media. Try doing some ACTUAL research that doesnt have the stamp of the Washington Post, MSNBC, or the Huffington Post on it. The only gullible one here is you and everyone else here who thinks the Obama and the Democrats are your saviors.

FYI, you read nothing I wrote.

P.S. Maybe I should learn to write the truth as Obama, the Democrats and the rest of the mainstream media (and FNC as well) do? That would be the serious lacking of all truth and substance in the first place. I mean, look what it’s done you! You think you’ve got it all. Geeze and all I did was say that something ELSE needed to be done.

ExGOP 08/03/2010 2:39pm





ExGOP 08/10/2010 9:11pm
in reply to justamick Aug 09, 2010 7:26pm

Why do you keep referring to Obama as Lord and Savior? I only know of one Lord and his name is not Obama. You’re the only one I ever heard say that. Are you getting it from Hannity’s favorate 3 words? Again, broaden that narrow tunnel vision pea brain of yours and listen to something besides FoxNews. Who do you worship, besides yourself? Mohammed?

FYI … last years news is not current news retard. Once again, there’s no basis for your illogical unintelligent remark. I bet you consider googling research. Hasn’t anyone ever told you that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet? Durrrrr.

justamick 08/04/2010 8:53am
in reply to justamick Aug 04, 2010 8:52am

One final word, then I’m going to stop responding to the hateful speech being spewed here…
You need to get through your heads that it was DEMORATIC & REPUBLICAN Congress’s and REPUBLICAN & DEMOCRATIC presidents that got this country into this mess. The mess we are in comes from DECADES of a mismanaged Government and runaway spending. No Democrat or Republican will be able to fix this mess because they ARE the problem. Stop being pawns of the Republicans and Democrats. Your lives are just a political playing ground for both parties, neither one cares about any of us. Learn to recognize that and we all together can take back our country.

ExGOP 08/10/2010 8:10pm
in reply to justamick Aug 09, 2010 7:12pm

Ya right, like it takes a rocket scientist to connect to the internet using a public wireless connection. You can’t even rationally justify your ignorant comments. Whatever.

justamick 08/09/2010 7:07pm
in reply to ExGOP Aug 09, 2010 2:46pm

Altering the location is not what you agreed to. You have PROVEN that you don’t have the balls to back up the talk. Thats fine, I have no problem with that. But stop projecting, it’s your doing not mine. I gave you exactly what you so graciously requested. It’s not my fault if you cannot follow through with your word.

Oh no, more proof right here… deceit…. one of those signs of a sociopath…. I’d definitely say that you’re projecting. Please… you’re not kidding anyone here.

ExGOP 08/10/2010 8:00pm
in reply to justamick Aug 10, 2010 6:49pm

Wrong again. My computer froze. And I don’t live to respond to a fool.

ExGOP 08/10/2010 7:57pm
in reply to justamick Aug 10, 2010 6:43pm

FYI … I’m a member of PETA.

They watch you piss in a cup, how did that make you feel? Are they still laughing at your little pee pee?

ExGOP 08/10/2010 7:54pm
in reply to justamick Aug 10, 2010 6:45pm

You’re obviously in denial. Go back and read the comments made to you about a week ago.

ExGOP 08/10/2010 8:20pm
in reply to justamick Aug 09, 2010 7:19pm

Did I push the right button? lol

ExGOP 08/10/2010 6:23pm
in reply to justamick Aug 09, 2010 7:04pm

What’s the matter Stupid? You can’t admit when your wrong, can you? I bet your hillbilly mother popped you out in that grassy field and left you there. She did, didn’t she?

Here’s the Wiki article …,_California

ExGOP 08/10/2010 9:17pm
in reply to justamick Aug 10, 2010 6:47pm

Once again … aka Nobody aka Kiss aka Big

I believe I’ve proven my theory. You are most definitely the LAST WORD FREAK. You can’t stop creating nonsense … how pathetic you truly are. I’m checking out now, but I will be looking out for you and exposing your deceit every chance I get.

P.S. I assume you have health insurance. My advice to you is to use the mental health portion of it before you lose it (mind and insurance). Job security is rare these days especially if you’re required to take mandatory drug tests.

Remember … I’ll be watching. BOO!

ExGOP 08/10/2010 7:51pm
in reply to justamick Aug 10, 2010 6:46pm

Reality check, MOST employers do NOT require mandatory drug screening tests for their PROFESSIONAL WHITE COLLER employees. There you go again. Didn’t your mother ever teach you how to think before you speak? You think everyone is the same as you, and you once again failed to consider people other than yourself (Me Me Me Me Me). Bet your feeling real stupid right now, aren’t ya Stupid?

justamick 08/08/2010 2:18pm
in reply to ExGOP Aug 06, 2010 3:06pm

Spent all day coming up with that did ya?

That is sir to you son. Show some respect. it’s obvious your parents never taught you that!

Yeah, I’m a freak… I’m a freak because I appreciate my personal freedoms, my personal liberties, my freedom from oppression.

You cannot even make an intelligent argument can you? Instead, you and Democrat lap dogs do nothing but point fingers and call names. You’d actually make sense, draw more people to your side if you could argue logically. lol, no you just need to call me a child molester, which is an ultimate insult. But I forget, you’re just a coward hiding behind an IP address somewhere out in cyberspace. I guarantee you would have the balls to say what you just said to my face. Begone, coward.

justamick 08/04/2010 8:45am
in reply to justamick Aug 04, 2010 8:42am

Lets speak hypothetically, do you expect unemployment to be extended indefinately? What if you dont find a job for 3 years? That’s 13 months beyond the point where many of the 99ers are at right now. What, exactly, would you have Congress do? Keep extending unemployment until every person beyond 99 weeks has a job?

The fact of the matter is it is unsustainable.

As for your unemployment being taxed, think of this whatever amount you pay into taxes is going to be less than what you recieve in unemployment. That amount has to be made up somewhere… Where exactly do you think that comes from? That’s right, the government which means it is STILL welfare.

justamick 08/09/2010 7:40am
in reply to ExGOP Aug 08, 2010 7:22pm

You’re still an idiot. Even IF I was using two different (or more accounts) I’d still be under the same IP address. A different IP address would indicated a different LOCATION. Geeze, you really are stupid. No wonder you believe everything you hear.

At first I thought you were an ignorant jackass, now I just pity you. The complete idiocy you must find yourself in on a day to day basis. Wow, life really does suck for you.

If anyone is using alternate accounts around here… Its you… You’ve had yours for 20 days? My account has been active for 9 months. Don’t believe me? Check it for yourself, click on my user name and SEE it.

ExGOP 08/09/2010 4:43pm
in reply to justamick Aug 09, 2010 2:35pm

Spoken like a true sociopath (a.k.a. antisocial personality disorder).

Here’s the website if you dare to read up on yourself:

By simply reading the remarks you made to me and others, I can definitely point out three characteristics you share with sociopaths:

1. You’re narcissistic with your ME ME ME ME ME M ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME comment you made to someone on this blog.
2. You lack empathy for others.
3. Your deceitful, as indicated by repeatedly lying and use of aliases.
4. I also suspect substance abuse.

Need I go on …

justamick 08/09/2010 7:02pm
in reply to ExGOP Aug 09, 2010 4:43pm

Again with the psychological projection…

justamick 08/09/2010 1:22pm
in reply to ExGOP Aug 09, 2010 12:36pm

Multiple computers on the under the same router will use the same IP address… retard.

The only time there would be a different IP address is if each of your computers accessed a different ISP accounts. Durrrrrr…

justamick 08/09/2010 1:19pm
in reply to ExGOP Aug 09, 2010 12:37pm

yeah… that’s what I thought… Coward. You say name a time and a place and I do just that. It just goes to show that you cant back up the words you speak. You hide behind words and an alias. Your threats, your words are baseless, Coward.

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.