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.
 

Comments

Displaying 31-60 of 139 total comments.

  • justamick 08/02/2010 12:50pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    Definition of welfare: governmental provision of economic assistance to persons in need

  • firethegoverment 08/02/2010 2:56pm

    @justamick, you certainly must have job security for life ! This could happen to you one day. Stop trying to be GOD ! Get on your knees and pray to GOD that you some day will not loose your job ! Surely someone who has worked 10,15, 20, 30 years and so on damn sure deserve to receive unemployment ! That’s the least the Government can do for us Americans. We will Remember in November, who stood by us and who didn’t. We are in control, aren’t we.

  • Comm_reply

    Filtered Comment [ show ]

  • BamaLady 08/02/2010 3:05pm

    Definition of unemployment: Payments made by state or local governments to help replace wages lost by a worker who was laid off or fired from her/his job. Justamick, there is a big difference between unemployment & welfare. If there wasn’t, there would be one word to describe people in need because they won’t work & people in need because they can’t find work. Are you aware that most 99ers are over 50? I’m 34 & I can’t find a job. Recently, a small retail store in my town posted a help wanted sign. When I turned in my application it was laid on top of a pile as high as 5 dictionaries. I worked in the medical field for years & I can’t even get a minimum wage job! Imagine being a senior citizen & trying to find work. We need to continue to help these people until our economy recovers. Are you also aware that multiple economists & deficit watchdog groups all agree that unemployment is good, not harmful, to the economy & that for every $1.00 spent a $1.60 goes back into the economy?

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/03/2010 9:47am
    Link Reply
    + -3

    Unemployment is still welfare, go read the definitions I posted.

  • Comm_reply
    beenblue 08/04/2010 6:16pm

    You make it all sound so dirty, so why would we want to look at what YOU did !! FICA was taken from my payroll for 40 years, not to mention I`m a NAM VET, I did my part, and this new world order that took what we had away, leads right to Washington working for the Global Corporations. This is not a look at me situation, this is look at us, and how this country is being torn apart, and sold off. “UNITED WE STAND OR DIVIDED WE FALL”

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 8:54pm

    You’re not the only person around here who served their country in a time a war. I’m a GWOT vet!

    LISTEN to your self “You make it all SOUND so dirty” THIS is exactly what I’m talking about! Do you think that I blame you people for losing your jobs? Do you think that I play you all for idiots? NO! I KNOW it is greedy politicians, wall street thugs and opportunists that do this! You people all think that I’m saying you dont need help, that you need to fend for yourself when in fact I am saying we need to find ANOTHER way to conduct business.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 8:57pm

    You people dont HEAR the truth! You extrapolate exactly what you think you are hearing but dont take the time to actually READ the message! And you wonder why MSM and Conservative news services have so much power over the American citizen? Com’n! I’m not the enemy here, REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, THEY are the enemy. THEY are destroying this country from within. They are trampling on our Constitution; usurping it with laws like the Patriot Act!

    Do me a favor… read up on the Wiemar Republic… They were a Government that had a constitution that drove the way they governed. LOOK at what happened to them and then take a look back at our own Government and the two parties that do nothing but pass laws that completely contradict our own Constitution.

    You are right about one thing though, this country IS being torn apart by the very two parties that pit Americans against each other. Need I say more?

  • 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?

  • Chris51 08/02/2010 9:49pm

    THE 25 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS NEED TO USE THEIR VOTING POWER IN NOVEMBER. THEY NEED TO VOTE SMART IN NOVEMBER, OR KEEP SUFFERING THE OUTCOME.

    +VOTE AGAINST THE 2% WEALTHY WHO HAVE HIJACKED OUR USA!
    +ASK YOUR POLITICIAN TO VOTE AGAINST EXTENDING 35%-39% TAX BREAKS TO TOP 2% WEALTHIES FAMILIES & INDIVIDUALS.
    +ASK YOUR POLITICIAN TO NOT BARROW $4.4 TRILLION TO MAKE THE EXTREME RICH, RICHER.
    +DON’T BELIEVE THE LIE, THAT THEY WILL CREATE JOBS… THEY DIDN’T DO IT WHEN BUSH WAS IN OFFICE, AND THEY ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT NOW.

    IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN,
    THIS IS ABOUT MIDDLE CLASS AND FINANCIALLY POOR FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS.

    BUSH TAX BREAKS
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38333756#38529278

    FIGHT FOR THE 99ERS:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38333756#38333756

    MIDDLE CLASS VANISHING
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38333756#38437816

  • PartCherokee 08/03/2010 4:16am

    I see our government very differently. How can the Senate and House go on recess when so many Americans are suffering? Just thinking that childen are suffering should be enough. It reminds me of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (let them east cake). I thought our government was better than that. If Senator Kennedy was alive, I bet he would have made them stay until something was done for the 99ers . I am also disappointed to see President Obama so lacks on this issue.

    As Hurrican Katrina has shown, The American Government does not like the poor and will try to sweep them under the rug. Well there are too many 99ers to sweep. Four Million and growing.

    Outsourcing made the US weak and other countries strong just so the corporate heads could gain a little more profit. Fools!

    I hope Senator Schumer is not just stringig the 99ers along for votes. We need to hear more updates on how this bill is progessing.

    OUR TRUE LEADERS HAVE DIED!

  • ExGOP 08/03/2010 2:39pm

    TO ALL MY FELLOW UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS … LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD AND DON’T STOP FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHTS, AND THE RIGHTS OF THE 99ERS!

    PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE:
    http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/the_99ers_need_a_tier_v_added_to_unemployment_benefits

    THIS COULD BE YOU! ECONOMISTS PREDICT JOBS WILL NOT BE BACK BY NOV. 30TH! LET’S START NOW TO HELP AVOID THE CRAP WE JUST WENT THROUGH.

    P.S. PLEASE FORWARD THE PETITION LINK TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS TO SIGN. WE STILL NEED 9,000+ SIGNATURES TO REACH THE 50,000 GOAL.

  • 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.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 8:29am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I have no problem paying my taxes. I have a problem with my taxes steadily increasing until I reach a point where I have only penny’s to take care of my family, which this is EXACTLY where this is going.

    Just out of curiousity, have ANY of you people who have be so rude and vulgar actually READ any of what I’ve been saying? Or all you all so caught up in your hateful spewing that you’ve only read over what fuels your hatred and ignored what I’ve really been saying?

  • 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.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 8:25am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    You would bet wrong.

    How exactly is donating my money to charities that help those without jobs, those in need selfish?

    FYI, whenever there is an excess in spending, it is always the middle class; people like me, that take on the brunt of the taxes. If being concerned about having the money to take care of my family makes me selfish, well then excuse me! I’m soooo sorry! Lets just tax the REST of my income so I cant take care of MY family!

  • Comm_reply
    beenblue 08/04/2010 5:51pm

    Giving a couple bucks, or canned corn isn`t heavy lifting is it, and what do you mean middle class like you!! that`s all I hear me me me me and my rights, my income, my family. Here`s the difference, This country is held together by WE THE PEOPLE, not me the person, your tax`s alone don`t do squat!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:03pm

    That’s a pretty damned ignorant comment. By middle class, I mean someone who makes UNDER 100k/ year. Hell, I’d be surprised if my total lifetime earnings hit 750K.

    And you are right, It is about me me me, my right my income my family. Because I KNOW the only person who is going to look out for them IS ME! The ONLY person who looks out for their best interests is ME. You’ve made it very clear, you couldn’t give two shakes about my kids. Lets just redistribute what I make, so that you can get what you want. Maybe I should just tell them this winter “tough luck kids, no coat this year, some asshole on the internet thinks that the money your daddy makes to support you would be better served else where” Right?

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:40pm

    Yes it is held together by we the people. Are charities not a part of we the people? Is that not people helping people? What have you done for your fellow man (or woman) lately? Or have you been more focused on your own problems that you dont see everyone else?

    When I was unemployed, I still gave DESPITE having no income because I knew it was the RIGHT thing to do. I helped my fellow human beings when I had next to nothing because it is what I would have wanted someone else to do for me. You say that what I do doesn’t make a difference, even your lord and savior advocates helping others and volunteering, so obviously it’s not a belief everyone holds. I counter with it makes helluva lot of difference.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:40pm

    Let me put this in the simplest of terms for you… the Government role is to govern. To provide life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. It doesn’t not guarantee happiness, it just enables you the opportunity to pursue it on your own by guaranteeing you the first two; life and liberty. It is the role of the citizens to provide for others, not through their taxes, because taxes are for allowing the government to carry out it’s sole purpose; but by supporting charities, volunteering, lending a helping hand to someone in need, being a human being. You hide behind the government like it’s your way of contributing to society, but it’s not a contribution if it is something you’re made to do in the first place.

  • Lanah 08/04/2010 6:33am

    This is extremely scary! Come Nov. 30th some odd 12 to 15 million people will be 99ers whether they’ve been on UI for 99 weeks or not. Once your tier ends it ends. I serioulsy don’t see 15 millions jobs developing. I’m an architect and firms are holding firm on NOT hiring. They are sitting on their profits now and working the people they kept double hours. I have been applying at places like Home Depot and Lowes and have taken temporary jobs like Phone customer service for Best Buy. Even those jobs only last a short time. I got an interview with Lowes and I was repeatedly asked what will I do when an Architectural job becomes available. Well guess what i didn’t get the job. They are concerned that I will leave once the economy gets better. This time professional and non professional alike are suffering.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:44pm

    I sincerely hope that things turn around for you and a lot of other Americans across the country soon.

  • 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

  • Kerlynne 08/04/2010 11:24am

    Fellow Unemployed>> well looks like justamic needs an attitude adjustment. Let’s talk to them when they loose their home,have soup for food because you made a good living and don’t qualify for food stamps oh yeah the car gets repossed and the lights get turned off. dim wit

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:20pm

    What attitude is that?

    Let me enlighten you… I’m going to assume that you yourself has a family. Which means that you are, like me, looking out for the best interests of your family. So when it comes to taking from others, you’ve got no problem with it? Right? Okay, well I am looking out for the best interests of MY family. MY priorities lay ALWAYS first with my family. Which includes their present and their future.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:20pm

    Lets look at our deficit… ESTIMATED 1.71 TRILLION dollars… National Debt ESTIMATED 14.078 TRILLION dollars! Guess who inherits that burden?! THATS EXACTLY RIGHT! OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN! OUR LEGACY TO OUR CHILDREN IS A MIND BOGGLING DEBT THAT WILL EITHER FORCE THEM INTO AN INESCAPABLE POVERTY OR LEAVE THEM WITH NOTHING ENTIRELY! Things like this are UNSUSTAINABLE!

    But then again, maybe you think that the Government can magically make more money appear on a whim… Right? It doesnt matter WHERE the money came from, so long as it suddenly appears in front of you in the form of dollar bills or in your bank account in the form of higher numbers than what you had before!

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:23pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I realize that the growl in [our] bellies often overshadows the future of our decedents and doesn’t allow us to see past the hear and now. Our forefathers left us a great legacy, now WE are destroying that legacy because we can get past the fleeting moments. Moments that will eventually end, despite the fact that we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I will say again… this is NOT a matter of me saying that each one of you are lazy and it’s all your fault that you dont have jobs! No, this is a matter of me saying that MONEY DOES NOT MAGICALLY APPEAR OUT OF NO WHERE!

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:46pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I do hope things turn around for you soon and I’m praying for you and your family.

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:23pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I realize that the growl in [our] bellies often overshadows the future of our decedents and doesn’t allow us to see past the hear and now. Our forefathers left us a great legacy, now WE are destroying that legacy because we can get past the fleeting moments. Moments that will eventually end, despite the fact that we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I will say again… this is NOT a matter of me saying that each one of you are lazy and it’s all your fault that you dont have jobs! No, this is a matter of me saying that MONEY DOES NOT MAGICALLY APPEAR OUT OF NO WHERE!

  • Comm_reply
    justamick 08/04/2010 9:23pm

    I realize that the growl in [our] bellies often overshadows the future of our decedents and doesn’t allow us to see past the hear and now. Our forefathers left us a great legacy, now WE are destroying that legacy because we can get past the fleeting moments. Moments that will eventually end, despite the fact that we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I will say again… this is NOT a matter of me saying that each one of you are lazy and it’s all your fault that you dont have jobs! No, this is a matter of me saying that MONEY DOES NOT MAGICALLY APPEAR OUT OF NO WHERE!

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