Why has the debate over unemployment benefits been so muffled?

Roughly 400,000 folks exhausted their federal unemployment benefits in September, with another 200,000 projected to do the same by the end of October, according to a recent study by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group. By the end of the year, NELP estimates that 1.3 million Americans will have exhausted their benefits unless Congress steps in with an extension. Each day the Senate dallies, another 7,000 people go off the rolls.

But the Democrats - useless at politics as always - are not making hay out of this. DiA jumps in:

Republicans will vote against cloture because they want votes on two amendments, one to bar ACORN from receiving federal funds and one to do something or other about illegal immigrants. Since the House passed its version of the bill five weeks ago, over 125,000 people have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, however, there is bipartisan support for extending or even increasing the first-time home buyer's tax credit, implemented as part of this year's earlier stimulus package and currently set at $8,000. Johnny Isakson, a Republican senator from Georgia, wants to up the credit to $15,000 and extend it to anyone who buys a home...

[If] there's any bill that ought to be sailing through the Senate in the midst of the worst recession since 1945, it's the extended unemployment benefits bill; and if there's a form of stimulus spending that ought to meet with severe scepticism in the Senate, it's the tax credit for homebuyers, especially buyers who already own homes. But that's not how things seem to be working these days.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.