Democrats try to increase pressure on unemployment benefits
March 12th, 2014
05:29 PM ET
10 months ago

Democrats try to increase pressure on unemployment benefits

Washington (CNN) – Nearly three months after extended unemployment benefits expired, Democrats tried to ratchet up pressure on the issue with dozens of lawmaker signatures and a line of Congressmen marching together into the House Chamber.

“Do the right thing, Mr. Speaker: give us a vote,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California told reporters Wednesday, as she and dozens of her party members prepared to file a discharge petition in the House, aimed at forcing a House vote on an unemployment insurance extension.

Despite the intentionally strong visuals of Democrats filing into their chamber en masse, their move was largely symbolic and is not expected to break the logjam on the issue.

To trigger a vote, discharge petitions must be signed by an absolute majority of the House of Representatives. That is 218 members currently. But Democrats have just 199 in their caucus. The move is more of a way for Democrats to continue raising the issue and accusing Republicans of inaction in a high-stakes midterm election year.

Republicans have expressed doubts about whether unemployment insurance encourages people to stay out of the workforce, but their main objection to extending benefits has been the funding. House Speaker John Boehner has consistently said any unemployment extension must “be paid for” with spending cuts. In the Senate, negotiations are similarly stymied over how to pay for an extension despite participation from key members in both parties.

Democrats contend that unemployment benefits help the economy because the unemployed are likely to spend the money immediately. But their main charge this year has been emotional, pointing to real-world stories of struggle.

At Wednesday’s event, 82-year-old Rep. Sander Levin, D-Michigan, slowly twisted off his own wedding ring as he read a Craigslist ad from someone who was selling their own wedding and engagement rings last week. His staff said that the ad clearly listed expiring unemployment benefits as the reason. (The link to the ad had expired when CNN checked.)

“We need to act,” he said.


Filed under: Congress • Democrats • Nancy Pelosi • unemployment
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    My Goodness, why doesn't someone stop these out of hand Liberal leaders, they
    are set on making this a Third World Country. Spend Spend Spend never pay for it
    Spend Spend Spend

    March 13, 2014 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  2. stevejjones

    You paid in. Got the money you were entitled to, and your eligibility expired. The trust funds around the country are exhausted. No one owes you anything more than you got. The President should reform the tax code, curb entitlement spending, and make trade deals. He should also enforce immigration law. If he does these things maybe jobs will open up, if not maybe you need to take on the work that 14 million illegals are willing to do. Maybe your body can't pick lettuce, but you could clean a hotel room or bus a table. If not and youre not faking then retire on disability. What you shouldn't get is welfare in the form of European style unemployment benefits. We have a shortage of willing American workers.

    March 13, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  3. Wendy

    We are suppose to be, "we the people in order to form a more perfect union" We are all in the same boat, but this time it's the titanic. All of our jobs moved out of the country, 3 people to one job, It's not about the lazy people getting off their ass, it's about everyone having a fair chance, and there is no fair chance. What are we suppose to do, lay down and die because tight wads who live in this delusion that they are better than everyone else, don't care about the rest of us?
    Madam Antionette told the poor to let them eat cake, and she got her head chopped off. There was massive revolt in the streets. Yeah, let them go without, 'that could be more costly in the long run. More people losing their jobs, more on unemployment and still paying out either way. More poverty and ruin and more crime. More filling up the prisons and children going without. Oh but the rich won't have to pay their tax.

    March 13, 2014 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  4. Namejc

    Go to work for less $ most of us people that are back to work are working for less far less get a job there there even if the pay sucks

    March 13, 2014 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  5. Winston Smith

    Remember the first time you heard a politician call Social Security an entitlement? How about the pension you worked for, and contributed to for years. Remember the benefits you've amassed by working and both you and your employer contributing to being called unearned, or needless entitlements? The first time this happened no one payed any attention, but now it's starting to hit home. The reason you are not getting the breaks you had hoped for in your senior years is because you've allowed the politicians access to them, and they've stripped you of your retirements and freedoms. The politicians decided to lower your living standard, as opposed to helping the masses raise theirs. They have done so, and done so with your blessings. You voted them into office and they have protected their future. Do they care about your retirement? It's very, very doubtful.

    March 13, 2014 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  6. Brian

    The United States House of Representatives needs to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits to the unemployed America workers. The House of Representatives needs to unilaterally pass this. "Americans First!", should be their rallying cry! Isn't it about time the United States Congress began doing the right measure and put Americans First and stop putting the country into surmounting debt? President Obama want to pledge and send financial aid off to yet another country to ensure they have a democracy but he is unwilling to take executive action on the over 2 million unemployed and under employed nor does it seem has the power to unite the elected officials of the House and Senate in a paramount and common cause, Americans First! The United States should tend to straightening its own house before going and interfering in another's with a political system that is FAILING ITS OWN PEOPLE. American's First! Necessary change for the common good of the people, for the people and the state! To the voting majority of us unemployed....make your votes count in the mid-term election for Americans First minded candidates.

    March 13, 2014 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  7. LOYALRIGHT

    Dems will try anyway possible to use American hard earned tax money to buy votes. Hopefully, many of you will be voted out this November and America will get some common sense, less arrogant, people elected.

    March 13, 2014 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  8. Larry Nutter

    For the GOP to say that we the unemployed are not actively seeking employment is absurd.
    I am a 53 yr. old professional male that has been unemployed for 9 months. I have even drove two states away for job oppurtunity and treated job search like a full time job.
    my savings is about used up , very bleak outlook.
    I have leaned conservative my entire life but feel the GOP IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE WORKING CLASS.
    Very dissapointed in the partisanship of the gop, need to do what is right for the working class.

    March 13, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  9. Marie MD

    @ED1, do you have anything to say about rafaelito, lee, paul, ryan and other teaklans running to shut down the government then doing so and now blaming our President and the Democrats to the tune of $34 BILLION??
    That's two unfunded wars for Bush not just one and million of deaths and maimed veterans.
    The ACA (because if you call it Obamacare the teaklans lemmings don't want it even if they need it badly) is for the good of people without insurance and those of us who have and have jobs and pay taxes.

    March 13, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  10. Marie MD

    I means $24 BILLION then again they have wasted enough time and money trying to repeal Obamacare 50 times.
    Their next big project is the height of buildings in DC. That should take care of hunger, unemployment, veteran benefits, Social Security, Medicaire and a host of other problems the teaklans just don't care about.

    March 13, 2014 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  11. ironman666

    here is a ideai you dumbcraps do your job and bring jobs in so there is no unemployment i am tired for paying for theses people

    March 13, 2014 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  12. hkirwin

    Tracey Wright

    I have worked steady for the past 26 years. The last company I was with for 21 years. In all that time I collected unemployment for a 5 month period. Went back to work in another division of that company that closed after 18 months.
    Never collected disability in 26 years. Now I search daily for jobs, sending resumes, posting on several job search sites
    get updates all day long. At the age of 51 I feel employers are not wanting to hire someone they would have to pay more because of the years of experience. I WANT TO WORK! If UIB is not extended it will devastate me. No money for gas, car insurance. Utilities. Sadly I am now coming to terms that I may have to surrender my dog and cat if I cant feed or care for them. COME ON PEOPLE WE PAID INTO THIS. DO WHATS RIGHT BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
    CHARITY STARTS AT HOME....BUT THIS ISNT CHARITY WE PAID INTO THIS. IN A DAY YOU SEND BILLIONS TO OTHER COUNTRIES. HELP IS NEEDED BADLY FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE GOOD OLE USA.
    ==============================================================

    One simple question. Did you vote for Obama? Unemployment benefits were never meant to be a life long entitlement. Ask the president where those shovel-ready jobs are or the Keystone pipeline.

    March 13, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  13. salty dog

    Don't give me the bush wars, right, facts are so darn inconvenient! You don't have to like it, but bush left us in a position that was the second worst in our history, rwnj cry failed policies, like we need to go back to what bush did, and expect different results, that's called insanity, seek help soon.

    March 13, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    It would seem that it is becoming politically correct on the right to be against education. We all heard Rick Santorum suggesting that only liberal elites seek college education. That's crazy, BTW. There seems to be a concerted push to privatize everything in sight, particularly public education.

    Why would a major political party want to reduce and eliminate the opportunity to get an education? The only "logical" answer is pretty ugly. The long term result of cutting education is that we will end up with a bipolar society of "haves" and "Have nots". That's what and who the Republicans are working towards.

    March 13, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  15. deano

    Speaker John Boehner , You want to pay for the Euc extension, Dont send Billions to the Ukraine... Help Americans that need the help...
    Democrats need to do more to get this done... Republicans are Pigs !!!!! Watching Veterans, and American Children suffer, because their parents lost jobs.

    You have to be a real Pig to let Americans suffer.... You all should be ashamed of yourselves... A Recess again !!! Really

    March 13, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. Steve- Illinois

    Just a desperate attempt to change the subject from Obamacare, to anything else. The election in Florida represents the first tolling of the bell for Dems in 2014.

    March 13, 2014 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
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