Unemployment benefits expire, Dems vow to fight on
December 28th, 2013
01:52 PM ET
8 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. non ya

    Wait until people start robbing stealing whatever it takes to survive. Are government is corupt. They help send jobs over seas then they alow the jobs that are still in the US to be filled by immigrants from other countries not against immigrants just against populating a country that doesnt even have jobs for the Americans from here.

    December 29, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Just

    Who else realizes that all of the new jobs in the last 6 years which 2/3 are low pay part time can't help the jobs situation? The O is real proud telling half of the truth on jobs.

    December 29, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. faux scandals

    There are plenty of permanent temp jobs to screw you.

    December 29, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. The Realist

    Why don't everyone stop taking hand outs like banks, auto industry, short sale home owners, corporations receiving tax breaks, and stop selling out our jobs to other low class countries or call them emerging markets it sounds better to fools like you!

    December 29, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. It's Hard Out Here!!!

    As I look at some of these comments I wonder what are some people thinking. I have been unemployed for the last two years and as some others have stated, I have applied for jobs continuously, even jobs I have over qualified for because I have a family to take care of. I have a Bachelor's and Master's degree and still can not find a job in which I know that I am more than qualified to perform. Being out of work is not something that I desire and have enjoyed so for those of you that keep talking about us being lazy, I ask that you check yourself. I have never been lazy a day in my life and never even felt that with all the education and experience that I have, I would not be able to find a job, not even a career, but a job. Something just to get by and not have to depend on the government. But here I am and for you to stereotype all unemployed as lazy is wrong and idiotic. I pray that whatever the government does that they get it together and realize that until they set a precedence that all will continue in chaos.

    December 29, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. tony sosa

    I think the poor should not be lazy

    December 29, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Kathleen OConnor

    The Republicans need to get behind the restoration of the extension for unemployment.

    Once again, the Republican’s are ready to take care of people in other countries, but not willing to take care of 1.3 million Americans.

    There is 1 new job for 3 people on unemployment.

    How would you like to be a 58 year old woman on unemployment trying to vie for one of those jobs? It is not as easy getting a job for everyone as the Republicans might wish.

    Even though the overall unemployment rate has dropped, the problems faced by the long-term unemployed remain grim. The share of the nation’s workforce that has been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer has dropped, but at 2.6%, it remains as bad as the peak of long-term unemployment in any recession since the end of World War II.

    The rate of long-term unemployed is now twice as high as it has been at any other time in the past when EUC benefits were terminated.

    Cutting off EUC benefits will cost the national economy 310,000 jobs in 2014 and is likely to reduce the economy’s growth rate by 0.4 percent.

    December 29, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. anita reyes

    ok if you want to take away unemployment take away taxes they were both started when the war started.

    December 29, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. tony sosa

    In redwood city California their are now hiring every Corner for moths c'mon people don't be so picky on money I have to work graveyard just to survive I didn't have to take the job but I did and I'm happy that I get a paycheck being a security guard

    December 29, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. ztarbod

    Stop calling it unemployment benefits and call it what it is – welfare.
    One of the big problems in DC is the success democrats have had blaming republicans for just about everything, even Obamacare was a republican idea.

    December 29, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. JC

    How could our Congress step away for the holidays knowing that millions of people will suffer while they are sitting pretty in their corrupt little worlds. How much more destructive are we going to allow our government to become to the American People and those abroad. Enough is enough, I'm sick of it as I'm sure many of you are. They bicker like a bunch of school children and get paid and are supported by the American People. It's time to put a quick end to this type of politics as it's clearly not for the people, rather the politicians own personal agendas. I'd like to see a new government that is truly for the people.....maybe just wishful thinking.

    December 29, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. davonskevort

    I was on u e checks for months....why because it was free money that played all my bills. No boss tons of free time and I could play vidio games as much as I want. When I decided to go get a job . I got it in 2 months before my benefits ended and had a start date after the last check. My job pays 100k a year and I spend about24k a year in bills. So I am cheap as hell. If you are dumb enough to give free money I am crazy enough to take it.

    December 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. thegeneral45nyc

    my girlfriend sent out over 800 resumes to companies stating that they are hiring.....not......and now her unemployment benifits are cut off......guess u like to throw girls in the streets homeless.....you should all be fired and forced to live on the streets of new york in 10 degree weather......u would die in an hour......thanks for killing her

    December 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Sophie

    Congress needs to get back in office and let the extension of Unempoyment pass. Like myself there are millions that have lost a job and the pool of decent jobs has decreased substantially. To cut so many americans of benefits especially through the holidays is cruel. Let's not forget we forged through the Congress Shutdown this year. Give us back the extension so we don't fall beyond the means of poverty. One Justice under all.

    December 29, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. JC

    I have a wife of 14 yrs and a 4 1/2 yr old daughter. I worked mortgages in Connecticut before the government allowed the 2008 mess. Then I worked as a fraud investigator for American Express in Phoenix before they shipped a ton of jobs to India (which the government allows), then I worked for one of the new MMJ Dispensary as a compliance manager in Phoenix. After finding out and advising the owners they were way out of compliance to the point of illegal, they let me go, saying "their was no longer a position for me." I filed for unemployment as a temporary bridge so that we wouldn't lose our home or basic utilities. Its not much, only 142 per week. The very little we receives helps, but a job would be so much better. I was making 50+k per year and have been applying for everything as low as $9. an hour which is pretty sad but things need to be paid. We don't have TV because of the cost of cable and a friend tells me the day before xmas that unemployment is expiring and the politicians that were supposed to sign the extension are on vacation til after the New Year. We made it through the holidays by only getting a few gifts for our daughter and not each other. We also didn't have the normal holiday dinner but we made it! I am completely beside myself that people we elect to manager our country, do it so poorly to the point of disasters, time after time. I feel our current government as a whole is the problem to our Once Great Nation, not an individual politician or political party....ALL OF THEM! Does everyone think the problem is going to fix itself or that the corrupt politicians and political parties will suddenly have a change of heart and be for the people? Its not going to change unless we change it ourselves, together as Americans, peacefully or aggressively.

    December 29, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Rae

    I think thar longer then a year is crazy, but when you are in a certain field timing is key. When I lost my jib it was the beginning of the year which made it hard to look for a job in education. I rely on this money to keep my home. I do understand people use it as income, but that's not true for all. Our government is so messed up and I have a hard time understanding what their choices are because its not for the good of the people. I wish they could understand how hard it is, but while they are visiting their winter homes they aren't going to get it:( our lifestyle has drastically changed and it scares me to lose our home

    December 29, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Liz the First

    I hope people remember when they go to vote in November who cut off their unemployment and who is fighting to get it back. i can just see the rethugs sitting around in their private clubs quoting Dickens. 'are there no prisons? are there no workhouses?' I have a solution for our budget deficit. Kick every registered republican voter off Medicare, Social Security, unemployment, food stamps, etc. no government money at all. since they hate it, surely they don't want it. problem solved.

    December 29, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Kyle

    What happened to people saving for a rainy day. I have lost my job because of cuts, but I manned up and had to dip into savings. Never took a dime from unemployment, I prefer to handle my own business. No personal responsibility these days

    December 29, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Fire

    Shippers and Receivers at distribution centers across America are always looking for Lumpers to load and unload tractor Trailer loads. Only one catch, you have to WORK.
    Truck Driving Schools across America will teach you how to drive a Tractor Trailer in less than 1 month. The Trucking industry is always looking for Truck Drivers.
    Good Luck and Happy New Year.

    December 29, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Isn't it AMAZING???

    .... how all of these ficticicous unemployed people all of a sudden show up on this thread to document their own personal sob story which is the same sob story? It also makes me wonder that if all of these people are truly long term unemployed, on the verge of being tossed out on the street, what are they doing paying for what likely is cable internet access? I doubt you're posting from a library on a Sunday night.

    December 29, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. SMITVICT

    How long should unemployment be extended for? Will there EVER be a point when we can let it expire and not hurt the needy? Why not just eliminate the time limits altogether.

    December 29, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. FED Up

    Ok. Here is my take on this. Dems don't have a problem taking money away from retired military. A pension they earned and were promised from our Government. One of the main reasons men and women join thei military. But they have no problem giving money to people who are to lazy or think they deserve more money then they are worth. I retired on October 31, 2012 and started a new job November 1, 2012. My new job pays me $14.00 an hour. So those of you that say there are no jobs out there you aren't looking. Just my opinion.

    December 29, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. firerogergoodellnow

    If government stops paying people not to work, more people will work. They're either not trying hard enough or don't want to work.

    December 29, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. Jane

    Poor PEOPLE are not lazy, I was raised poor, my dad built our house with his own 2 hands, I 'd like to see one of these CEOS do it. it took dad 7 yrs to build his and mommas dream house , saving money a little at a time and doing odd jobs. Anyone who says the poor is lazy, has never been poor. My parents were never on gov help , proud people , but lazy never.

    December 29, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. Jane

    PEOPLE Want to work, not loaf around , get some jobs for folks and get unemployment down and then talk abt ending unemployment and not until then., WHEN EVERYONE WHO applies is many for one job, people are hurting, Corporate welfare is far worse, they can afford some cuts without going hungry. .

    December 29, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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