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. Lisa

    My husband's been out of work for eight months almost 45 years old cannot find work no one will hire a 45-year-old. I'm disabled so the money helps it's not that he's not looking for a job so you guys need to please quit criticizing people who are desperate for money and are looking for work there are honest people out there

    March 13, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  2. Zak P

    I have been employed for 23 years and got laid off. I have been looking hard for a job for the past year but have not found anything. My unemployment ran out January 1 and am now looking to dump my house, which is hard because I have 3 teenage kids. We need jobs and I need to get off COBRA, about signed out!

    March 13, 2014 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. A Washington unemployed person

    I cannot believe they even cut the extensions. I know people that have sat on their asses and had no intention of finding a job and were granted this money. Pretty sad!!!!! Now I am unemployed after thirty five years of working and am told that I am no longer eligible for benefits. I have done everything in my power to find a job and have done everything by the book. Five months to find a job when there are none. What moron said that? I HAVE applied at the gas stations and local mini marts just to find something but when there are no jobs there are no jobs. What makes me sad is there are some people out here that really need the extensions and the sorry losers that don't want to work are the ones that benefit. Makes you feel proud......

    March 13, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. John

    My technology job got sent to India. Send it back and I'll be glad to quit being lazy. Until that happens, I'll take that UEC check, thanks.

    March 13, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. iReason

    Lotts of lucky folks here who have never been unemployed............yet

    March 13, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. Wanda

    There is a need for federal unemployment extensions for those who are actively seeking employment. I have a daughter who was laid off from her job at the end of October. She had worked overtime nearly every week for almost two years at a WOMAN OWNED BUSINESS and was laid off the day before insurance renewal, she is type 1 diabetic and at the time was three months pregnant and YES she is married. Of course, she is a strong willed young lady and has been on seven or more interviews, the phone interviews go great and then she goes in for a face to face interview and you know as well a I do, when they see she is pregnant she is not offered the job. Some have the courtesy of calling and saying they decided to go with someone else and then some don't even bother to call her at all. Sadly, her unemployment runs out just before her due date and she is beside herself of what will happen. She does not want government assistance, she wants a job. She will go on another interview tomorrow if she were called for one, just seems to not give up. Please think of those in her situation that have ACTIVELY BEEN SEEKING EMPLOYMENT but has the odds against her at this time.

    March 13, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. Ancient Texan

    Lifetime unemployment benefits? It's become very apparent that jobs will not be found until the unemployment pay stops. Like Pelosi says, the benefits circulate and 'help the economy' and this gives people an opportunity to learn how to paint, sculpt, or do dope, or whatever.

    March 13, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. obawendon

    It is really too bad that these politicians have never had to deal with the stress, sorrow and slap to your self esteem that comes with losing your job through no fault of your own. Then to further the issue, you search and search and search for work and never even get a call. When you get a bite, they tell you that you are too over qualified for the position and hire someone younger and at minimum wage. Then you have to deal with everyone saying you are a deadbeat sucker on the taxpayer. The very taxpayer you use to be for all your life. These idiots have zero compassion, nor have they ever been put in this position so they continue to look down their noses at those in need thanks to their lack of action to bring the economy back up to par. Trust me, living on unemployment or welfare, food stamps and any other aid is no walk in the park. I wish these jerks could walk in the shoes of those trying to dig out but can't get there because some Republican kicks them in the face and pushes them back into the mud and poverty.

    March 13, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Chris-E...al

    They should extend ! Take care of our own for a time . We all are bacon now . You cant take on the whole world 4 ever unless u stand hand in hand At Home . we have alot of empty flanks . And no 1 to blame but our self .And the dems . thank you .

    March 13, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. Start a Biz it aint coming back

    Folks on "unemployment" for years should wake up and smell the coffee.

    For two reasons: First is, those mid-level low skill managerial jobs are never coming back.

    Two: Taxpayers are tired of paying your bills. DO SOMETHING.

    Permanent welfare so certain people dont have to retool themselves is a lie and will ultimately diminish these people even further. My next door neighbor did not look for a job ONCE. In three years. Said so. Not as long as the check was coming was he going to do anything – because you know – "the economy is too slow, there are no jobs".

    THIS has evolved into a permanent welfare for these people. NOT appropriate.

    March 13, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. just me

    Good news, but the house will ignore this too. There's only so many hours in a two day work week.

    March 13, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. yolanda

    European redux...welcome to the chronically unemployed. Why try to find work when Big Brother can take from those evil money makers and give to all of their innocent victims. Repeat after me, "I am a victim, give me money, a cell phone, a little more money, and I'll vote Democratic until I get a better offer. Amen."

    March 13, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. Smeagal4T

    This will hopefully finally help all those veterans and even conservatives who are just sitting around like lazy bums according to the Tea Party. There was an excellent article about a conservative Republican voter who was irate at the GOP for cutting unemployment while she was working hard at school trying to learn a new career.

    This article was too short. Sen. Murkowski was apparently involved on the Republican side. She's one of the few remaining sane Republicans in congress. She's more interested in Main Street hard working Americans than the Republicans who are just interested in strutting around attacking and undermining hard working Americans.

    March 13, 2014 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  14. Swimmom2004

    While I am extremely grateful that I am back at work I did in fact take a job at nearly 50% of what I have made in the past. I am curious if I will be paid from the 12/28 – 2/24 timeline of being unemployed.

    March 13, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. Swimmom2004

    Whome, you obviously have never been out of work.

    March 13, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  16. TxGran

    Most people I know who are unemployed are so frustrated because they are unable to get a job offer after sending resume after resume, and then to have Repubs or anyone else saying that extending their unemployment will just end their job search for another few months is even more frustrating. There really are people who want a purpose for getting up in the morning and lead a normal life. I can only hope every politician who thinks like this loses their job.

    March 13, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  17. ghost

    I agree, why wait, vote now. Also, it should be extended until the jobless rate is back below 5%. If Congress and thr GOP really want people off of it they wil cut thr crap and do something about the job situation and stop blaming the POTUS. This Country would be a hell of lot better off if the GOP helped, just a little bit.

    March 13, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  18. Steve- Illinois

    Why wait until after the recess? If it's soooooo important to Harry and Co. then pass it now.

    March 13, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  19. James

    Please pass this biii do the right thing take care of our own. Just once show us you care. I worked 25 years . I now have no Job

    March 13, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  20. Carlton

    I don't get the retroactive part. What if the people found a job last week? They are going to get paid from January 1st?? This country sure knows how to blow money. I do agree, if they haven't found anything by now, they never will. They will be on unemployment the rest of their lives.

    March 13, 2014 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  21. LOYALRIGHT

    According to liberals, the economy is doing so well. No need to extend anything. It's another way to buy votes.

    March 13, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I'm not quite sure why people assume that those collecting unemployment benefits are automatically lazy. People collecting unemployment have to look for work and have to prove they're looking for work in order to collect their benefits, which are often barely enough to keep people going if that (depending on how much they were making before losing their jobs and where they live. There will always be people who abuse whatever system is in place, but I would wager that in this economy, with the job market the way that it has been, there are far more people legitimately looking for work collecting benefits than those living caviar dreams on $200/week from Uncle Sam.

    March 13, 2014 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  23. Guy Incognito

    I'm not quite sure why people assume that those collecting unemployment benefits are automatically lazy. People collecting unemployment have to look for work and have to prove they're looking for work in order to collect their benefits, which are often barely enough to keep people going if that (depending on how much they were making before losing their jobs and where they live. There will always be people who abuse whatever system is in place, but I would wager that in this economy, with the job market the way that it has been, there are far more people legitimately looking for work collecting benefits than those living caviar dreams on $200/week from Uncle Sam.

    March 13, 2014 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  24. J.V.Hodgson

    OK senate seems on Board and regrettably it will take a discharge resolution in the house to get a vote there.So take the recess time dems to work on a few republicans to pass the discharge resolution to get a vote.
    Add another discharge resolution for the minimum wage.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    March 14, 2014 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  25. Name Long term unemployeed

    To those who say we are moochers. Do you think I am intentionally not taking jobs as I have had no income since he end of December? I am living off of my savings that is just about gone. I have applied n person and online to employers- everywhere from security, warehouse, retail, food, and grocery. You are incredibly ignorant to say that I was happily being paid 295/week to sit at home. My two daughters dependency and all of my bills are fun to pay with such little unemployment insurance. If you must know I am well trained, educated, and over qualified for the employment being offered where I live. Oh, please, btw, find some grammatical error to say I am not educated or some other divergent. I hope you never get laid off, lose your home, and can't find employment.

    March 14, 2014 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
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