Unemployment benefits expire, Dems vow to fight on
December 28th, 2013
01:52 PM ET
11 months ago

Unemployment benefits expire, Dems vow to fight on

(CNN) - Long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans expired Saturday after Congress failed to pass an extension. Reinstating those benefits is expected to be one of the first priorities for congressional Democrats in the new year.

“Extending unemployment insurance is the right thing to do for millions of Americans who are trying to support their families,” Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Saturday. “What makes matters worse, the loss of benefits comes just a few days after the holidays.”

Like most Democrats, Wasserman Schultz laid the blame for the expiring benefits - now reverting back to 26 weeks of coverage - squarely at the feet of congressional Republicans.

Many Republicans have in turn argued that the extended emergency federal benefits - passed during the Great Recession - are a disincentive for job hunting and are no longer necessary as the economy improves and unemployment ticks down.

Rand Paul: Extending jobless benefits a 'disservice' to workers

Unemployment isn’t going down fast enough, say Democrats. They argue that without the extended benefits, recipients will severely curtail their spending and be a drag on the economy.

“As we continue our work to create more good paying jobs, it is essential that we extend unemployment benefits to the millions of American families who still need and rely on them,” Wasserman Schultz said.

President Barack Obama also weighed in Friday, according to the White House. In a phone call to Sens. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, and Dean Heller, R-Nevada, Obama voiced his own support for reinstating the prolonged unemployment benefits, the goal of a bill co-sponsored by the two men. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to take the benefits up as soon as the chamber returns from its break early next month.

Heller has been one of the few Republicans to vocally support extending the benefits – although House Speaker John Boehner has expressed some willingness to negotiate on the matter.

In a statement announcing his extension bill, Heller argued that “providing a safety net for those in need is one of the most important functions of the federal government.”

“As Nevada’s unemployment rate continues to top the charts nationwide, many families and individuals back home do not know how they are going to meet their basic needs,” Heller said.

A number of Democrats also took to Twitter on Saturday to argue for extending the benefits.

–CNNMoney's Emily Jane Fox, Annalyn Kurtz and Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • unemployment
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Eric

    6 months isn't enough to get off unemployment....wwwwhat?? Sheesh, how much is enough?

    December 29, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  2. Eric

    @unemployedColorado. When times got tough in the past people were basically forced to leave town and find work elsewhere. I'm not sure where you're at, but you got to do for your family what you got to do. If that means moving, so be it. Have you been looking outside your state, or even potentially in another Country?

    December 29, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  3. king

    i keep telling these dems stop fighting for these ungrateful people. all they're going to do is side with the repubs as they stand on the sidelines and demagog what the dems will be doing to help. open your eyes dems, and stand on the sidelines for once, stop sacrificing yourselves for these ungrateful people. do what the repubs have been doing for the past five years, and that's criticize and doing absolute nothing to help these ungrateful people. i am tired to hear the media lump everyone in when the repubs in congress obstruct and block jobs bills and everything else, MEDIA CALL IT LIKE IT IS DAM IT. say who is obstructing and stop lumping everyone in congress in the same bowl. dems you guys have done a lot for these ungrateful people, yet because of the repubs superior propaganda machine, you guys gets the short end of the stick from these people every time. just stop the helping of the american people for crying out loud. and yes these ungrateful people will vote the repubs in this election, because the repubs superior machine have taught them that fighting for their own interest is wrong, they should allow the repubs to suck out more money from our economy, and give to the rich so they can advance china's economy and war machine, and leave these backward people to compete with china slave labor markets. can we say the dethronement of the american middle class, dum dum dum dum dum.

    December 29, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  4. christine senior cit of the usofa

    my name is Chris I've worked all of my life. I am a cook, I also am 65 years of age, willing and able to continue working in my field. I have 10 + years of constant employment so I have plenty of experance .I've been unemployed, unwillingly for the first time sense July of 2013 and can't find a job,I don't know why no one wants to hire me. I also fill out 10 to 15 app a day, all on line because no one will speak to you unless they have gotten your app and resume on line first. I want very much to go back to work if you need a cook e-mail me but until then if you don't want to see me standing at the on-ramp of your local freeway with a sign saying please help me I' m homeless and hungry and living under a bridge because the government cut funding for unemployment and I have no money extend our very needed funding. . WE the unemployed are not lazy,we are not sitting on out fannies enjoying the good life, the money we get hardly covers daily life we are living on less than half of what we a are used .all of us have had to really downsize our lives just to have a place to live, so pardon me if i take offense to all the people who think we are just living off of the Government because we are too lazy to work-- shame on you- where is the compassion for the hardships of your fellow men and and woman. I truly hope you never have to stand in our shoes.

    December 29, 2013 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  5. yebed Nunny

    "The federal government is bailing out the insurance industry and passing laws to protect Obama Care from the forces of the political market."

    True, but make sure you also apply this argument to the policies governing the finance industry. The government delegates authority to the banks when determining client access to risk products (Options, ETF's, etc). The bank can recommend or not recommend a financial product on the clients behalf.

    The problem is the deceitful definition of Risk as it applies to policy:

    My bank authorized the purchase of short-term Option Contracts, but did not authorize the purchase of Shares in related ETF's and ETN's. This makes little sense, even with your Contango / Normal Backwardation argument. You seriously want to use that as your defense : ) CSPAN will be interesting if you do.

    Their definition of Risk is distorted: Buying Shares is not riskier than buying Options, especially since 50% of the contracts will expire worthless! If they instead recommended the purchase of shares in an ETF/ETN, I would appreciate it.

    The risk associated with options is GREATER than the risk associated with leveraged and non-leveraged funds. (Option Risk > ETF/ETN Risk)
    Why can't we purchase the safer product?

    December 29, 2013 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  6. Name Uche Agonsi

    For Christ's sake this issue is about provinding for jobless helpless fellow Americans. Many might be educated & talented as other employed ones. Their only crime is that they are less opportuned. You cannot even be positioned to look for job if you have no money in your purse. The adversities of unemployed helpless population should not be underestimated. Its even more ironic for Americans to intend supporting the party that caused the recession and other of these problems while smearing the image of the party saving their asses. Its becoming a case of what you sow, you reap.

    December 29, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  7. RonL

    I read many of these comments and see attempts to blame the Democrats and I have to tell you IF you believe this you are delusional. Yes, you are correct that members of the Democratic party voted for the budget agreement that did not include an extension. While helping these 1.3 million Americans is very important it is MORE important to get a BUDGET that impacts all Americans and stops the knee jerk dynamics we have been experiencing for the last 3 years. l believe we are all experiencing is a carefully planned attempt to make the Democrats look bad so the Republicans can win the White House. In the last 20 years we have seen the rich get richer and the middle class stay stagnated or slip into poverty. We have seen a Congress willing to shut off unemployment benefits while at the same time they want to continue to subsidizes farmers with tax payers money to the point that they NEVER have a financial lost? Some members of that Congress has gotten over 2 million dollars from this program over the last 4 years. We have a Congress that complains too many people are on the SNAP program when 100's of thousands of them are working part time and fulltime jobs. This same Congress is against raising the minimum wage $2.00 – $3.00 so these same working Americans would be above the poverty line and not NEED SNAP assistance. Our country needs MAJOR rebuilding of it's infrastructure which could be partially paid for by elimination of tax breaks only afforded the very,very rich. They benefit the most from this countries wealth and yet our government shows them extraordinary favor in the tax law. Businesses (the Job creators) should get some tax breaks as they launch and establish their businesses but once they become established and successful they should not be able to get tax deductions that in effect lower their tax rate below many average working Americans. Our politics is the reason our economy is so stagnated. Even the Pope has stated the middle class and poor are growing in size while the rich are becoming ULTRA rich. Our society can not continue to be healthy if this imbalance is not corrected.

    December 29, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. ak

    We can give aid to the world but not to the working man and women. The vote them out next time..

    December 29, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  9. Lisa

    What makes them so Privileged?

    Is it Good or Not?

    They want to re – instate However take away from those who are unable to get a Break ; What is So wrong with this Picture?

    December 29, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Lisa

    Why can't anyone be Honest Here?

    They "PUFF" the numbers and manipulate to get the reaction desired but what they are doing is hurting those who want and need to work or obtain what they seek!

    December 29, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. Lisa

    Truth hurts !

    Sometimes we have to lower our own standards even if it hurts!

    I tried to get a job that was only paying .75 cents an hour However I was told it was BELOW ME!

    Everything at this point is hanging on by a thread and the Government wants to take things away.

    I seem too get a notice every other day!

    I'm at the 40' something phase of of employment in addition to having a disability.

    I'm told I won't be hired because of my personality or they already have my type, whatever that is suppose too mean! but reality it is the wheelchair I'm in that keeps me from employment !

    Seriously, counting rivet or paper pushing ,; hOW COMPLICATING IS THAT?

    December 29, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. pappy

    The dems are for the people and the repubs are for the corporation's.

    December 29, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Evergreen

    We, the American people, have wasted a lot of time arguing with each while companies continued to outsource jobs with the help of taxpayer money and States have passed laws making it harder for workers to organize and have a voice in their future and the future of this country. Our politicians wasted too much trying to make the President a one termer rather than focusing on getting Anericans back to work.

    December 29, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. penguin

    Sure, there are some who are unwilling to work and want only to live on government benefits, but such people are a minute fraction of those who are out of work because there are no paying jobs to be had. If the Republicans made an effort to create jobs instead of shutting down the gov't, perhaps more would be working.

    December 29, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. Nikia

    First I lost my job because of sequestration cuts now 6 months later my benefits are getting cut, that's a double whammy!! I've been looking for a job and I noticed its the same damn jobs being posted on these job websites not many new jobs in this economy! 100's or more are applying to those same jobs. It takes money to look for a job ie, you have to pay for the Internet to look for jobs (in this day and age to find a job you need it) you need gas money or money to take the bus to get to an interview! If the money is cut then what? Believe me I will not settle for the little bit of money I get from UI or I will be damned to be forced to get on welfare! No one wants to be forced into poverty and that's what's going on by cutting theses benefits!! I want to work but where are all these so called jobs? I did the right thing went to school got degrees worked hard then my American dream was cut due to sequestration!! Now you are going to put me down because I can't find a job in this awful economy. If some of you were in our shoes you would feel differently! I shouldn't have to leave my family and go to another state to find a decent job!! It's so frustrating that congress and this govt can't get it together! Instead of fighting wars, sending money to save other countries invest that money into creating jobs for the American people! Start off by not sending jobs over seas!! This whole thing is so frustrating its messing with people's lives and they are off on a two week vaca!!

    December 29, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Name joe buss

    Get to work

    December 29, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. you did it to yourself

    GOP = Greed Over People
    Well said UnemployedColo. My experience was the same but my 30 years of IT was in COBOL!!!
    ---

    You have NO ONE TO BLAME BUT YOUR SELF for being unemployed. Anybody with half a brain knows this was a deadend IT job. You were too lazy to keep up with technology, learn new skills and made your self worthless to future employers. You should have left that COBOL job 20 YEARS AGO!

    December 29, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Geesh, talk about a lot of made up sob stories! Liberals are really working overtime to maintain their unemployment hammock society. How many years are we going to do this? 10? 20? We have already borrowed and spent a quarter of a trillion dollars on extended unemployment benefits. Are you suggesting we should just make it an even trillion that our kids and grandkids will have to repay?

    December 29, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    "You have NO ONE TO BLAME BUT YOUR SELF for being unemployed. Anybody with half a brain knows this was a deadend IT job. You were too lazy to keep up with technology, learn new skills and made your self worthless to future employers. You should have left that COBOL job 20 YEARS AGO!"

    Yep, I have been nailed by a mental midget! That "outdated" job was paying almost 80K in 2010, guess I should have left that so some moron couldn't rant about staying up to date!

    If I had left 20 years ago, I would have left approximately 1.2 million on the table at an average of 60k per year.

    Perhaps you should just concentrate on breathing regularly, in case your brain stem becomes confused!

    December 29, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Shon Williams

    The Reublicans remind me of the angry uncle, you know the one who always says "I don't need anyones help, screw you all," right before he stumbles drunk on his face and says, "somebody help me up." Don't ask for taxpayers to fund your wars, bank bailouts or Israel at 35 billion a year.

    December 29, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Maybe its time...

    Maybe it's time to learn a new skill/trade? Quit applying for just one specific type of job, its obviously not available if you've been unemployed for over 6 months and you say no one will hire you. Lower your expectations a bit, your not going to get paid what you once did, accept it and move on.

    December 29, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. you did it to yourself

    GOP = Greed Over People
    --
    "You have NO ONE TO BLAME BUT YOUR SELF for being unemployed. Anybody with half a brain knows this was a deadend IT job. You were too lazy to keep up with technology, learn new skills and made your self worthless to future employers. You should have left that COBOL job 20 YEARS AGO!"
    --
    Yep, I have been nailed by a mental midget! That "outdated" job was paying almost 80K in 2010, guess I should have left that so some moron couldn't rant about staying up to date!
    If I had left 20 years ago, I would have left approximately 1.2 million on the table at an average of 60k per year.
    Perhaps you should just concentrate on breathing regularly, in case your brain stem becomes confused!
    --

    I'm in the IT field too you dolt! I'm making nearly $150,000 a year because I kept up and know my stuff. You decided to be lazy and do nothing to stay current. You turned yourself into the equivalent of a 386 PC in today's world, a useless resource, unless you are starting a computer museum. What you were making sounds like a lot but is the equivalent of minimum wage in the IT field these days.

    But what the heck, you enjoyed you comfy unchallenging job for a lot of years and rode it until the horse died. But one thing is very clear, you made that choice and own the consequences. If you are now unemployed it is because of yourself and your stale, out of date talents. Look in the mirror for the person to blame for that.

    December 29, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Lower your expectations a bit, your not going to get paid what you once did, accept it and move on."

    Wow, what keen insight AND deep analytical thinking! All of us unemployed are so pleased you pointed that out!

    I did not get a job driving a car to deliver auto parts that paid 8.00 bucks an hour! How about that for applying in a "new" field and I have 40+ years of driving experience!

    One thing is for sure, simpletons give simplistic answers to very complex questions!

    December 29, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. TJ

    Jobs? What jobs? I know more people who are out of work now than at the beginning of the recession.

    December 29, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. faux scandals

    The GOPers are saying,"let them eat cake."

    December 29, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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