Jobless Benefits to Expire after Congress Fails to Extend

More than a million unemployed won't have their benefits restored as lawmakers go on break

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"More than 1.3 million laid-off workers," announces Stephen Ohlemacher for the Associated Press, "won't get their unemployment benefits reinstated before Congress goes on a weeklong break for Independence Day." Senate Republicans filibustered the measure for the third time this week. Congress may vote to extend the benefits when they return in mid July, but in the meantime, there's significant disagreement about who's responsible for failure to restore benefits before the recess.

  • Historically, a Big Deal, points out The Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney. "Federally-funded extended benefits have given the unemployed additional weeks [beyond the normal 26-week unemployment benefits] during eight recessions since the 1950s." Thus, this will be "the first time since then that extended benefits have been allowed to expire when the national unemployment rate is above 7.2 percent."
  • And a Big Problem  "Even when Congress reinstates the federally extended benefits," explains The Washington Independent's Annie Lowrey, "unemployed Americans will have spent as many as 10 weeks without the checks--checks that often keep families just out of poverty and in their homes. Among the unemployed themselves, responses range from earnest hopefulness to despair."
  • The Names of People Holding This Up  "The Senate has been unable to extend job benefits because of a Republican filibuster," states  Pat Garofalo flatly at Think Progress. Garofolo lists the "17 senators from states with double-digit unemployment who are willing to leave their constituents without a safety net," and wonders whether "perhaps Republicans in the Senate agree with Sharron Angle that unemployed people are simply 'spoiled' and 'afraid to get a job.'"
  • 'Blatant Lies' in This Report, says Meredith Jessup at, objecting to the quote from Harry Reid saying Republicans are the ones against extending the benefits.
The GOP has, on numerous occasions, said they would vote on a stand-alone measure to extend unemployment benefits.  The Republicans also suggested--gasp!--that ol' Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi loosen up some of the 40 % of stimulus funds that have gone unspent to help the underemployed. 

Neither of these scenarios were acceptable to Dems who wanted to load the measure up with lots of other items in a pathetic attempt to get the GOP on record as being "against assistance for out-of-work Americans."
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