Democrats try to increase pressure on unemployment benefits
March 12th, 2014
05:29 PM ET
9 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. s runkle

    UI is paid for 100% by employer taxes not from employees, so, though sad when it runs out forcing hardship, it is erroneous to say "we paid into it." That we did is a common misconception. Also, Fed extensions are paid out of the Fed budget and not even by employers.

    March 12, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. gene buie

    I have worked all my life raise 3 children and paid my share of taxes. never have I been on welfare or food stamps. I am a republican and I have always voted and tried to be a good American. My wife is 64 and I am 67 can't find work in California. This has made me look at the republicans in a whole new way. It's sad to see the republicans treat the people of this country so crewel. To the republicans who say I'm just lazy and don't want to work They couldn't be more wrong.

    March 12, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  3. oscar

    Both parties are at fault here. Reid can accept an amendment that they are trying to offer not the best amendment in general but right now there are people hurting. Republicans consider 2. million americans are lazy which is so absurd and ridiculous to even say. Its shame how things are going wrong but please stop the bull of he and she say cause they both at fault bush and Obama. Democrats and republicans.

    March 12, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. J anthony

    Ed1 you clearly have no idea how the monetary-system works. If you did you'd understand money=debt under our system of institutionalized usury. The national debt IS the money supply. Private bankers have owned and controlled curreny-creation for a century now (see Federal Reserve Act 1913). The Fed isnot a govt bank,its a private corporation owned by 12 multi-national banking institutions. With the exception of coins,which today is one/one-thousandth of the money-supply,the government does not create the currency, the Fed does. Dollar bills(federal reserve notes) are "lent" to the govt. Tangible currenncy(coins and bills) make up less than 3% of money supply. 97% exists only as entries on a computer screen,all created by the banks in the form of loans. Should you ever bother to look into this subject eventually you'll understand the government is in debt for something it has the sovereign rght to create itself. How and why this happened is a complex and well-documented history,but needs to be understood by everyone, as opposed to almost no one.

    March 12, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. oscar

    I would tell 2 million americans who are suffering god bless and I pray hope will come for you. I also will say don't vote at all any more. All americans just don't vote.. democrats and republicans voters every where in America DONT VOTE at all for the next few years. without votes they have no job see how they like their own medicine lol.

    March 12, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  6. Brian

    I already sold my wedding ring, I am down to zero money. Don't mind being hungry. Hate that my kids are. I applied.for food stamps back in January and still not received any benefits. I am getting more and more depressed. I am losing my car insurance. I am not.even worth more dead had to cancel my life insurance.

    March 12, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  7. NameThomas Kidd

    I am 56 years old,I worked for40 years and never needed any help. i have been out of work for 8 months now, the company i worked for for the last 18 years closed. I have been looking for work everyday. December i lost all my benefits, feb. I had to turn my car in to the bank for nonpayment, i use a friends car now. April if i do not get a job i will lose my home. If they would pass this bill it will give me more time to find a job, if not well the gov. Will pay for my food, medical and whatever i can get to live. If not for my two kids, i would go to jail and not worry about food or where i will sleep. It does not look good now. This is the u.s.a. big deal.

    March 12, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  8. Name Laura

    I have been unemployed since March, 2013. I am educated. Experienced and Employable.

    I also suffered a heart attack on Dec. 9th, 2013. NOT due to blockage..(i.e. bad eating habits, blockage, etc..) But due to a medical condition that is controlled by medication.

    Medication that was affordable while still employed, and covered under insurance.

    I am now wearing a Life Vest, (external defibulator) paid for by YOURS truly..

    When I lost my job. I lost more than just my way to pay the bills. I lost the ability to focus on living a lifestyle of proper health care..

    Not taking medication because you can't afford it is a blasphemy.. Federal and/or STATE funded aide is a DEAD END. (Litterally)

    VOTE NOLO!

    March 12, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    someone needs to call china to help out , if we can help the people over sea's
    & not tack care of are own. i think china would be are best bet to take care of us

    March 12, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  10. Ralph

    Ll my life. I want to work the republicans think there giving people on unemployment a free ride and that just not the case we are hard working americans that are trying to get back on our feet. Lets quit sending all that money to other countries and start helping the people that pay taxes and employ the poloticians that wont help there own people. What ever happened to bye the people for the people.

    March 12, 2014 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. Rick Albert

    I worked steadily for 39 years. I was gainfully employed throughout that time. I never had to collect unemployment, State nor Federal until mid-2013. 2 Weeks after I was approved for EUC, the deadline was imposed. I haven't been paid in 3 months, I've burned through all of my savings and I will likely have to sell my car in order to keep my house. Somehow, this is what the Republicans in Congress think is helping the economy.

    March 12, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Pamela Blanck

    How come we have to read on the internet about the vote or lack of vote for extending unemployment. I understand there is a lot going on in the world, but a few minutes addressing this for the American people is not too much to ask. There are some very needy citizens who paid into unemployment. Why not do a story on the 50 plus year olds who paid into it for 25 plus years. They are really trying to find work but age discrimination is very hard to prove. I have been reading the comments on different sites and hope the Senate and Congress read them. I wrote to my state Senator Toomey and his response was that he wanted people who made a million dollars not to be able to collect. This is almost laughable. If you pay into unemployment you should be able to collect when you need it regardless how much money you make. My guess is that if you make that kind of money, you probably do not collect unemployment, since the average check is around $200 a week. Please cover this more so that the unemployed do not feel forgotten.

    March 12, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. ajl

    Umm employers pay unemployment not the govt right?

    March 12, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. newgirl

    i worked for 27 years...changed jobs and that job ended....i want to work i'am a home owner about to loose it all. i followed all the rules worked hard need unemployment and its not there for me....i got it for 8 months but it was cut off. iam single and lost....hope i dont get sick please reconsider about unemployment.....home in the dark...

    March 12, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  15. Name

    I guess the republicans would like more of us to be on welfare instead of helping people who have paid into unemployment. I hope everyone remember this when it comes election time. We know who does not support the working class.

    March 12, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  16. i. conserve

    I do feel for those who could use it and have earned it. The problem is that the democrats use the entitlement programs for votes. By pushing for an entitlement state, giving money, food and housing to those who abuse the system... its a slap to the face to all of us who do work. I wish unemployment insurance, welfare, etc was a system that was closely monitored for fraud. Its not. As a matter of fact the current administration pushes entitlements for those who arent even in this country legally. Our country has never been more broken... as an independent who now leans conservative, i will never again vote democrat. The liberals are destroying the fabric that holds this country together. And in case those liberals want to bash me, i did make the regrettable mistake of voting for Obama during his initial run for the white house. I was lead to believe in change.. well, thats all i have left after each paycheck... change.

    March 12, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. Deb

    I do not usually post on these things because I can usually let most of the comments go, however this one hit a wrong note with me. The government is spending money they don't have every freaking day. Money for a plane (in the trillions) that is not working. Money sent to other Countries that take it and then turn around and diss us. Take the money from that to fund the unemployment. Where did the money come from when it was first started? So stay in your comfortable home where you do not need to worry if the phone, gas, electric, or water will be shut off, let alone will you be able to pay the rent.

    March 12, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. jorge ott

    I need jobs place or more extension benefits

    March 12, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Tiz

    Pelosi is so irrelevant now.... It's sad.

    March 12, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  20. Josh Thompson

    3.5 million children are feeling the wrath of the republicans' War on the American Worker. This is the biggest domestic scandal in the last 50 years.

    March 12, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  21. Digna

    NO one cares there are those who yes are lazy but some of us have worked many years and need the benefits but like I said no one cares. what will it take for them to listen.

    March 12, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. Mike Hynes

    I think u are right Tracey Wright. Other countries seem To be first why it time to put the American people first after all that money u give away is ours RIGHT well we need it now pass EUB NOW BOTH DEM AND REP STOP PLAYING GAME .....
    Micheal j Hynes Jr.

    March 12, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  23. James

    For crying out loud sign the extension ! Your fellow brothers and sisters are suffering in America because congress can not manage money enough to support the bill ! What's up with this ? .

    March 13, 2014 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  24. Lee

    Why should the long term unemployed be used as the scapegoats for the failing economy, especially with jobs?

    March 13, 2014 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  25. BErnard obryant

    people need there help in the democrat and republican bad economy give them unemployment but republican want something for unemployment beneifit

    March 13, 2014 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
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