Senate deal would extend long-term jobless benefits
March 13th, 2014
05:09 PM ET
6 months ago

Senate deal would extend long-term jobless benefits

(CNN) – A group of 10 U.S. senators has reached a deal to extend federal benefits to the chronically unemployed for five months, a development one negotiator called a "bipartisan breakthrough."

Five Republicans have signed on to the $10 billion measure, effectively meaning it should clear the Democratic-led chamber. A vote is not expected until after next week's recess and prospects for passage in the House are uncertain.

The recession-era program that extended jobless benefits for millions of Americans expired at the end of last year.

Efforts to renew it since, even for a short period of time, have fallen short due wrangling over new spending.

Some Republicans also have argued the extended benefits are a disincentive for people to find jobs and have wanted to tie reforms to the unemployment insurance program to any extension.

The new effort would cover benefits for five months and be retroactive to December 28, when the previous program expired.

To cover its costs, proponents said Congress would tweak federal pension law to save money and increase revenues.

It would also end unemployment insurance for anyone whose adjusted gross income in the preceding year was $1 million or more.

"There are a lot of good people looking for work and I am pleased we're finally able to reach a strong, bipartisan consensus to get them some help," said Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat.

"We're not at the finish line yet, but this is a bipartisan breakthrough," he added.

Recent national polling indicated strong majority support for extending long term unemployment benefits.


Filed under: Congress • Senate • unemployment
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Fed Up CA

    How about actually paying the unemployment due to the people currently on it first? Due to the lack of snow many in the ski areas of CA have been without work (even though they have been looking since October). Yet they are still waiting for their unemployment. The summer season is starting in just a few months and they will all be back to work, so they don't need extensions, they needed the money to help get through this winter.

    March 13, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. NMB

    To those of you who are unemployed...SUCK IT UP!!! After tirelessly looking for employment, and having a hard time, my husband worked Day Labor to help bring money in the home. Are you too good to work a job that pays less that your accustomed to? A job is a job, get one and look for other work WHILE you're actually working!!

    March 13, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    "If they haven't found anything by now, 5 months is not going to help. At the end of 5 months they will still be unemployed and want more money"

    Wouldn't be more humane to just shoot 'em? Seems that is more humane than letting them freeze or starve to death.

    Uh, there will be babies, perhaps we could put them in a large room and gas them? That way we will not have to face the reality of what we have done.

    Maybe large camps? We can call them "debtor's prison", at least until space becomes available in one of the large rooms...

    March 13, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. DaveinIL

    Here we go again. A feel good handout to try to improve their image based on some accounting tricks which probably won't pay for their next cup of coffee.

    March 13, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Paul

    No more HANDOUTS !!!! This country needs to get back to good old Hard Work !

    March 13, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. Frank Lee

    Yes, please continue to hand out the funemployment so people can just sit around and collect it.
    Thanx Obummer, for making people dependent on you for their very existence.

    March 13, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. JL

    "chronically unemployed?" They used to have a different word for that, it was called being a bum.

    March 13, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Josh

    By blocking every job creation bill, the GOP have sacrificed the economy and the American people to make sure a black president doesn't have a strong legacy. Now, for the last three months they've blocked the only lifeline unemployed workers have. How many hundreds of thousands of children have become homeless over the last year because of the republican War on the American Worker?

    March 13, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Stop the madness

    Enough already. Quit extending these handouts. All the government is doing is creating another welfare program that encourages people to do NOTHING beyond wait for their next check.

    At least during the depression folks had to work for their government check. Only in the 1960's did it evolve into a handout. And look at us now...we're back in the same place. If they get a check they can at the very leaset pick up trash or something besides sit around and wait.

    March 13, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Rufus

    Impeach Obama and Holder........Problem solved!

    March 13, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Bob Malone

    If they need the money now,let them get a job and earn it.

    March 13, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. cbp

    For the very few who do not want to work perhaps this is a handout. However, the majority of people are looking for jobs. Our Congress seems to be forgetting those people who have been unemployed and even underemployed. Perhaps we can help them understand the problem by voting for their opponents in the next election.

    The Republicans seem to be looking out for the wealthier among us. Those of us who are doing fine need to write, call, demand that help be given where it is truly needed. Just look around you and see if you have friends or relatives who are in need of jobs or just a little assistance to get them over the crunch. How can those in Congress be so oblivious.

    March 13, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. Jimmy G

    We have the poorest unemployment benefits from all the industrialized nations, and even these benefits are considered too much. No wonder we are declining...

    March 13, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Wesley

    No more free money! Get off your backside Starbucks is hiring.

    March 13, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. sicntired

    Greedy congressmen make average nearly 250 k a year and don't care about the average person. that is why they lie to everyone to try to place the blame else where for our lousy economy. If they would work for minimum wage, our economy would be ok.

    March 13, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. Randal

    " progressives" trying to secure mid term elections. Have to make sure their deadbeats make it to the polls.

    March 13, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. susie

    It took me NINE months to find a GOOD job last year. So stop being so mean. Here's what's happening on the ground, and would have happened to me: People are filing bankruptcy and passing that tab on to you (mortgages, credit cards, they can't pass off student loans but other than that it's all in), Do the math. The max of say 400 a week, for people who made 60,00o or more in the most generous states, is a lot cheaper and you'll find that out by year's end! You shouldn't care that they lose homes or write off debt except YOU pay for it no matter what.

    March 13, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. Please

    Finally. Those taxpayers aren't lazy!! There are NO jobs for long term unemployed, people over 50, over- employed, single moms with blond hair , women who wear slacks to an interview...... On and on ad nauseum... Business want that perfect person and take forever to decide ...... Hope this is passed and QUICKLY.

    March 13, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. GLO

    There have been so many who got off their butts and went back to work after they found they had to do something to pay the bills. Do you know how mad they're going to be???

    March 13, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. susie

    BTW, I was applying for everything from dog catcher to car saleswoman and didn't get any because of my qualifications and established work history easily accessible online.

    March 13, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. woodland

    you people act like they arent looking for work. you cant punish the vast majority for a few idiots who dont want to get a job.

    March 13, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. Dr. Evil

    These guys don't even need a visa and still can't find jobs. Amazing!

    March 13, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. DK

    Just in time to do some spring home improvement projects. Thanks!

    March 13, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Unemployed

    Dale – I am sure if you where in the position of the millions on unemployed you would be talking differently. I only want the extension because it isn't just for me; it is so I can support my kids too. What people don't understand is it not only affects a person but their families as well. I send out 5-15 resumes a week, sometimes I get responses 4-10 weeks later that either they are sort of interested or not. I was laid off a year ago do to no fault of mine. I saw the lay off coming so I was pro active in going back to college to get my MFA along with sending out my resumes every week. I am not lazy and if you look at most that are unemployed they too are actively looking. What we need are jobs. Look at the job numbers out there. Where are the jobs for the over 2million of us on unemployment? Where are the corporations and small businesses that would hire us unemployed? I for one would rather work than be on unemployment any day.

    March 13, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. Name Nathan Valentine

    Republicans complain that Obama is not creating enough jobs in this country, then republicans complain that people on unemployment are not finding jobs. STUPID

    March 13, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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