Senate deal would extend long-term jobless benefits
March 13th, 2014
05:09 PM ET
7 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. hansellpam8

    I don't sit on my high horse and look down at anyone; especially not someone who lost their job due to no fault of their own and hasn't been able to find another job. Unemployment benefits are a safety net for the working class, yes the working class (you know, the people that work) and I'm sick of the middle/working class continuing to face so many hits. Jobs are not being created so if you lose your job there simply isn't another comparable job just waiting for you. It does not happen that way in this crappy job market. I like that Senators compromised on this bill and I hope it passes. When it hits the Repubs in the House who are beholden to the Tea Party, well, God only knows what'll happen then.

    March 13, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Name

    Keep paying them not to work...smart move !

    March 13, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. Putamericafirst

    If the economy is doing so well, then why do we continually need to support people who haven't found a job for over a year?

    March 13, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Bigglesworth VonTempv

    Why are they still trying to cram through extensions *after* the recession. Just growing national and state debt. If there is long term unemployment, it shouldn't be extended indefinitely. People that are unemployed long term need to make the necessary life changes sooner rather than later and delaying reality it is not going to help them long term.

    March 13, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. Carlos Gil

    Welcome to the new incentive pay by not seeking for work , is not umnemployment rate around 6% by now? People will not seek for work if you keep handing them out money,

    Same thing goes for food stamps

    March 13, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Robert

    Stop taking care of other country's and take care of the people here at home. It's a dam shame how we give so much to others when we need to take care of our own.

    March 13, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Chi town

    I'm a factory worker I lost my job over health reasons my unemployment was the way I got by I did look for work I did try I did not even apply for food stamps or any handout I was just trying to pay bills until I found full time work ..when they took away my unemployment it's been harder then ever I'm still looking for a job my country turned its back on me and said get up with no gas money no bus fare no cab fare and succeed unemployment for me and other proud American citizens was a bridge to keep are family's lights on food rent etc..not to take advantage of my country but for my country to have faith in me that I can get back on my feet .. Not cut my feet off and Crawl so congress if u can pass this bill and get it done u will have one proud American who still Roots for the Home team......

    March 13, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Skylar Jones (Maryland)

    For the Congress to take a break at a time when many American people are in need of the extension of this benefit is totally disrespectful. I would love a job and not be in need of this benefit. However, it is a benefit and not a hand out. Not everyone in America can receive this benefit. You have to apply for it. It is not just given to you. What is the matter with the mind set of people now a days? Why is it Democrat against Republican? Why is it Red against Blue? People need help with food and basic life necessities. Not criticism and negative comments. We already feel less than those who have jobs. If you live long enough you will need help from someone. Everyone is not going to be a millionaire/billionaire. When we have lost our compassion for others we have lost our concern for our own. I was born free in this country. I worked for 23 years in Federal service. The district office I worked in closed and I could not move to another state. I do not blame anyone or any group. This is LIFE; but when Americans need help we should be able to receive it without name calling and stereotyping. White, Black, Green, Pink or Yellow we are human first. Sending money and resources to other countries should always come second. Take care of home first.

    March 13, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Ginger

    I take offense to comments like...If they haven't found anything by now, 5 months is not going to help.
    I am 2 weeks from being homeless. I had a hotdog for Christmas. I sold my car already to pay my rent. I have nothing left. We need help! It is not a handout. I paid for it for the last 22 years of working.

    March 13, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. American

    This has no chance. These lazy individuals need to leave the nest. We are tired of babysitting them.

    March 13, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. scott

    My Unemployment benefits really help Thank you sooo much!!!

    March 13, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. jjjscott

    Extend unemployment benefits with pension smoothing? Next they'll be selling a bridge.

    March 13, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. Steve

    I am so happy Congress decided to end unemployment benefits to people with over $1 million of income the prior year. I was hoping Soros did not need that $400 per week to live, but maybe he does hey libbie's?

    March 13, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. gary

    Is the "solid majority" of citizens who favor the extension the same majority who pay not taxes and are on government handouts?

    March 13, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. jobless

    I have not had a job since 2008. I have tried. I am college educated. I have held great positions. I am not rich by any means. No one has helped me ever. The government hasn't helped me. I am jobless. What does this do for me? Nothing.

    March 13, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. gary

    You have to realize when you get a person in the system, they never get off!

    March 13, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Robin

    I spend all day, every day applying for work (at least 12 hours) and have applied for hundreds of positions. I take shorthand at 200 wpm, type at 100 wpm, have incredible administrative and technical skills and can't get an interview. I am over 60 and after 6 months, losing hope that I will ever be hired anywhere. I have no means to support myself and no one on which I can rely. What do you suggest? I wrote the White House and asked them if they wouldn't consider legalizing euthanasia so that at least I might be able to reduce the burden on society by one with some dignity. I challenge you to put yourself in my place.

    March 13, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. penguin

    There are very few parasites just wanting a hand out. Most people want to work. But the top 1% would rather hoard their money than use it to create new businesses or expand existing ones. But who can blame them when the earnings from their investments are only taxed at 15%?!!!

    March 13, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  19. Richard

    Wow! The U.S. really is trying to create a culture wholly dependent on welfare in various forms. If not welfare, unemployment insurance that never ends. Some of these people have been out of work for FOUR YEARS! What a mess your country is in.

    March 13, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Oh no, how terrible! We can't help the most vulnerable among us! That is so un-American!

    *Sarcasm*

    March 13, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. Smitty

    What has happened to motivation in the USA ??? Ans. Obumbles and the Dems.

    March 13, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. James Duvall

    I lost my job due to knee replacement surgery the government needs to give tax breaks for older adults so they would hire us that's all I see at the unemployment office is older people I've applied at aldis and cardinal health 30 years experience in food industrie didn't even get a interview my girlfriends daughter has zero experience in food and got a job at aldis warehouse her other daughter got an interview at cardinal health zero experience I filled out application I didn't even get a interview I want to work missed one day in thirty years don't lump the people who want to work in with the people who don't .

    March 13, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Name. JOEL

    First. Finally "Cnn" has spoken aloud on nothing of news. Months have passed with no cry"s of the people reported.
    second. Today we told of agreement (a thought), really still no help or vote.
    finally. St. Pat helped the people, so what are they honoring. Red or blue we are the people!

    March 13, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. BHS

    I would prefer to be working. I was in Communications and public affairs. Defense cut backs caused my lay off. Lost my house, car, many possessions. Living in a tiny borrowed place. At 50 no one wants me. It's the most humiliating experience. And then people look down their nose because I am in need. Something is horribly wrong with our system. Jobs sent oversees. Jobs taken from older loyal employees. This is SO Wrong!

    March 13, 2014 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  25. Jerry Whitcomb

    I'm sorry, but 99 weeks is just too much. Put it back to 26 weeks and if you haven't found a job, any job, by then you should hope you have been nice to your parents, siblings, or friends. Unemployment, welfare, food stamps, and disability have become career tracks and it is time for it to end.

    March 13, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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