January 6th, 2014
04:29 PM ET
10 months ago

Why have unemployment benefits become a battle?

Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans a first vote Tuesday morning toward renewing unemployment benefits for about 1.3 million Americans who lost them when they expired at the end of December.

Democrats and President Barack Obama support the extension - which had been scheduled for a vote Monday evening but Reid delayed the vote until Tuesday - while Republicans generally oppose extending those benefits. And with Democrats in control of the Senate and Republicans having a majority in the House, the issue doesn't seem to be one that will be easy to resolve.

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Filed under: Congress • unemployment
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Not extending unemployment benefits goes to show you who cares for the less fortunate and the economy and clearly shows you who is against it. A bunch of these unemployed live in red states.

    January 6, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. rs

    Simple- The GOP has shirked its social responsibility of taking care of all of the citizens of this nation, and they have a visceral knee-jek reaction to anything the President may stand behind- even when all the evidence, logic, or good sense tells them otherwise. Worse, they love do-overs- witness the sabre rattling about their next manufactured debt-cieling crisis. They like this stuff.

    January 6, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Republicans wasted over $24 billion for their idiotic shut down of government. No one ever asked the baggers what they would give up to pay for their insanity.

    January 6, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    A three month extension will cost $6.5 billion, or approximately one fourth of the cost of the republican government 16 day shutdown.

    January 6, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Why have they become a battle?

    Simple: if blocked, it will cause the economy to suffer, lose an estimated 400,000 jobs and GDP growth to slow by about 0.3%...which the GOP hopes to blame all on Obama because it's far too complicated for the average Amurikan imbecile to understand how blocking these benefits actually hurt the economy. What's more, even making the threat of shooting the hostage causes the economy to slow, because it slows spending by the people threatened, so the GOP/Teatrolls don't even have to shoot the hostage to get some of what they want here, which is a slower, hampered recovery that allows them to continue trying to blame Obama for a bad economy.

    It's exactly the same principles applicable to their brinksmanship and hostage games with respect to funding the gov't and the debt ceiling: They decided from the get go that they would do everything they could to prevent Obama from claiming outright success in fixing the Great Recession and to do everything possible to prolong the country's suffering in order to blame it on Obama.

    January 6, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. The REAL Truth...

    The GOP could care less about those out of work. It's not about getting a job (there's not many left in the US), it's about opposing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING the POTUS (or Dems) support to get the GOP voter lemming base all fired up, so they can win back Congress and the WH. Nothing more... if there was, we'd have had jobs bills passed long ago.

    January 6, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    -–because people do NOT have guts, nor educated to vote out all GOP thugs from congress, senate to show as to how unemployment feels like. Just vote out all GOP thugs show your stride, muscle.

    January 6, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. tom l

    Since all the liberals support the Heritage Foundation, I found this interesting:

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently issued a report claiming that extending the length of time that workers can collect UI benefits to 39 weeks would be one of the most effective stimulus measures Congress could pass. The report argues that this would transfer money to workers likely to immediately spend it, boosting consumption. Notably absent from the CBO report was actual research that supports this claim.

    Economists in the 1960s thought that unemployment insurance could function as an important, automatic economic stabilizer. Research in the 1970s demonstrated that this was not the case, and most studies since then have concluded that unemployment insurance plays a relatively small role in stabilizing the economy. State-level studies find that unemployment benefits provide virtually no economic stimulus. The lack of evidence for this connection is not surprising, because unemployment insurance is not designed to stimulate the economy.

    Extending UI Extends Unemployment

    Unemployment insurance gives money to workers that they lose once they find a job. This encourages workers to remain unemployed to collect benefits. Even for conscientious workers, UI reduces the pressure to seek employment. Unsurprisingly, research shows that when the government increases the duration of UI benefits, the length of time workers spend unemployed also increases.
    Many other researchers have come to the same conclusion. Researchers at Harvard found that extending unemployment insurance eligibility by 13 weeks increases by two weeks the amount of time that workers remain unemployed. Each additional week that the government extends UI benefits extends the length of time the average worker stays unemployed by 0.16 to 0.20 weeks. Since some workers find jobs in the first month of unemployment, extending UI means significantly longer periods of unemployment for those who do not start work quickly.

    Some analysts argue that greater benefits have less of a disincentive effect during times of high unemployment. The facts refute this argument: Labor market conditions have little effect on how workers respond to additional UI benefits.

    January 6, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. GOP = Greed Over People

    Because the GOP "chri$tians" worship at the alter of the almighty dollar AND the 1.3 million unemployed "people" are not corporations?

    Those are two reasons that immediately spring to mind.

    January 6, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    The rebranding of the Republican national brand is completed! Surprise....nothing has changed. The same old war continues against women, minorities gays, sick, poor, and unemployed.

    January 6, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. Tony in Maine

    Unemployed people do not contribute to political campaigns.

    January 6, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. rs

    Extending UI Extends Unemployment

    Unemployment insurance gives money to workers that they lose once they find a job. This encourages workers to remain unemployed to collect benefits.
    ___________
    Except genius, one must be able to prove they are actively seeking employment in order to collect long-term unemployment of 26 weeks

    January 6, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |