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

    The extension should come with limits, like only people who get at least $250 a week qualify for it- anyone who says they can't find a job that pays that much is lying; it's just over 30 hours at $8/hr.

    March 14, 2014 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  2. Edward

    This isnt a good thing. They are just delaying garbage. They get money for a year already. I got it when I got out military but you do have to apply for so many jobs a week. Plenty of jobs once people stop thinking its beneath them.

    March 14, 2014 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  3. king

    we need money in our economy so folks can go spend it in local businesses so that local businesses hire folks to attend to all these spenders, this is how you get jobs. if no one spending how the hell local businesses going to hire folks. i sometimes i wonder when the american people going to stop just looking at things the way the see it, and look at it the way it is. this is a capitalist country which supply and demand is the blue print, almost 80 percent of economy is spenders. why the hell the repubs keep trying to take money out of the spenders pocket who are the worker bees in our economy that pollinate money all over the place to create jobs, and give it to the 1 percents who take the money and hide it in the Cayman island and invest in china for cheaper slave labor. we are living in a global economy now, folks that means the border of America is invisible to the rich man who want to get more money at a cheaper cost, so these repubs need to bag this trickle down economics, and start calling it trickle sideways to china economics..

    March 14, 2014 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  4. Lily Kisthart

    It must be nice to be in Congress and not have to worry about the millions of people that are struggling to make ends meat without any income. So many Americans are in jeopardy of losing their homes and you guys take vacations like there's nothing wrong. You spend all your time and effort trying sort out the crisises over seas yet you turn your back on the ones within your country. These people worked for their unemployment they put in their time they deserve their benefits. Your the worst political leaders to ever be in Congress and our commander in chief is no better. I wish Bill Clinton was still in office despite his personal affairs at least he did his job and got things done. Perhaps, if you truly want to fix the economy and take care of its people take a page from him he was a leader we could all respect. This government now is all about money and power. Not at all for us little guys hope you remember that when your running for reelection we will!!

    March 14, 2014 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The congress should be paid MINIMUM WAGE with NO benifits like the rest of PARTIMERS!!!!!

    March 14, 2014 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  6. toniee

    If only we lived in Germany!!! You get Unemployment benefits for as long it takes until find a job! Resources and the help you need in the mean time until your able to find work! What a country we live in the richest on the planet no compassion or hope for you in time of need?? But as the old saying goes much money for Wars!!

    March 14, 2014 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  7. J anthony

    There is more than enough work that needs to be done maintaining/rebuildiing, and more than enough willing and able to do it. But we just can't seem to put them together. It is not for a lack of funding or resources that keep us from solving this problem, but a lack of will and imagination.

    March 14, 2014 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  8. @RI_Roger

    Before the House even considers voting on this bill, it should demand one of the bills it has sent to the Senate over the past 5 years be dusted off and voted on in the Senate (House leader to pick the bill). The Speaker needs to take an "eye for an eye" approach to legislating since the Senate plays by its own partisan rules.

    March 14, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  9. Marie MD

    So now the teaklans realize that they did the wrong thing? Why do they have to wait? All they have done is try to repeal the ACA 50 times and are now trying to raise the height limit for buildings in DC.
    I wish I could make that much money doing absolutely NOTHING!!!

    March 14, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  10. matt

    we need to pass the bill.. i am a hard work i am hoping to be back to work soon .i can't keep paying with a cards. for food and bills thank you i hope it pass soon.

    March 14, 2014 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  11. salty dog

    We simply don't make anything anymore, and that's why we don't have jobs.

    March 14, 2014 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  12. toveri

    thats it
    push this off just before the elections
    so it gives the Dems another weapon to hit the Repubs with

    March 14, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  13. Tom

    Good job congress extending a life line to fellow man.

    Anybody not wanting to help people are just totally sick. My dad work almost 17 yrs in construction only needing 4 mts total of unemployment. People jealous of unemployed people should lose their job and see what a crushing blow it is. And many people inherit zero in their life.

    Give these people a break! Help them.

    Bush gave millionaires huge tax breaks why can't we help people who lost jobs.

    March 14, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    Raise the minimum wage, it will not hurt. Because all these goods are coming from CHINA, INDIA, BANGLADESH, ETC. This will not increase prices–oh, as though now prices are low!!! No you go to harriteeter, buy Milk for 5/ gas for 3.50 cents. Are these cheap? No. Well, other version of argument–they cut hours–well, if they cut hours, some one needs to be there to take your money, ring the sale–who is that some one? Nothing happens. Just raise minimum wage for these greedy mongrels. Thus you increase conditions, they spend on goods–good for business.

    March 14, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    -if these businesses put single employee for eight hours, his feet burn, quits, then they better train–every training costs huge sum. Either they put high chairs or hire more part timers. Raise minimum wage to 12/ hourly.

    March 14, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  16. Wake up People!

    The majority of the people that comment here have no idea how bad this problem is. They get their talking points straight from Rush, Hannity and the rest of the Faux News crew. I was one of those people that lost my job in 2008 and I tried my best every single day to find another one. I was online, filling out apps in person but couldn't find anything. That was a first for me. I had never had a problem finding a job and found myself needing that unemployment extension. Of course I felt bad, it was my first time ever filling for benefits. And I was so glad to have President Obama fighting for my benefits that I'd worked hard to receive.

    People should put themselves in others shoes. I don't know too many that would rather collect 65% of their pay instead of working.

    But you can't tell the Foxbots that. If there's any justice in this world, they will find themselves in the same predicament one day.
    Bless all of you that are in need of these benefits.

    March 14, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  17. Jim

    A 5 month retroactive program that is already 3 months old is not gonna solve anything. Just a band aid on a gaping wound.

    By the time this actually gets rolling, if it does, there will be 2 million more people out of work, and the same thing starts all over again, with the original group still in the same boat.

    The Government should start up a work program, such as was done long ago, called the WPA. Work and you get paid, guaranteed job placement. Then as people find new jobs that pay more they can move on.

    This latest effort is a joke, Simply not facing the facts.

    March 14, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  18. ghostwriter

    Conservatives are funny.

    I guess you guys missed the part where republicans were part of this deal. Your leaders have been fooling you all along. Of course, once this gets airtime, they will get shellacked back into line. At least until the chance of a primary opponent is over.

    For those of you suggesting folks laid off make a career change....you do realize that most 2 year degrees take.....2 years. There are some programs that run a year or so. And they cost money.

    March 14, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. hkirwin

    To hear Obama and the left speak they have created millions of jobs. If so why can't these folks find one of them? Unemployment will end when Obama's term ends. He wants these people on unemployment to ensure their votes for the left.

    March 14, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  20. J anthony

    To the morons who disparage long-term assistance: how did you get so ignorant? Do you have any idea whats going on out there and how it got this way? I don't think you do.. the working classes have been systematically sold down the river, the majority are struggling and you think they're enjoying themselves?

    March 14, 2014 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Edward wrote at March 14, 2014 03:51 am;

    This isnt a good thing. They are just delaying garbage. They get money for a year already. I got it when I got out military but you do have to apply for so many jobs a week. Plenty of jobs once people stop thinking its beneath them.
    --------------------------------–
    Just because he got money for a year when he got out of the military at some point in the past, he thinks that everyone else gets money for a year, too. I respect his service, but this guy has got it all wrong. What's worse, he suggests that he received money for a year, which would mean that he didn't work for year, while deriding others receiving extended benefits and not taking a job that is "benath them."

    March 14, 2014 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  22. hkirwin

    salty dog

    We simply don't make anything anymore, and that's why we don't have jobs.
    ===============================================================

    ...and why do we not make anything anymore??????????????????????

    March 14, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    "Bush gave millionaires huge tax breaks why can't we help people who lost jobs."

    Because that takes away from giving huge tax breaks to millionaires. It seems that there are some in this country who feel that tax revenue is their money and they just simply want it back. They don't want to see their money spent on people too lazy to go find a job. They don't want to see their money spent food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid. They want to see their money returned to them.

    March 14, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    hkirwin

    salty dog

    We simply don't make anything anymore, and that's why we don't have jobs.
    ===============================================================

    ...and why do we not make anything anymore??????????????????????
    -------------------------------------
    Why? Most likely tax breaks and loopholes.

    It's always cheaper to produce as close as possible to the consumer, which makes it seem that manufactuirng overseas should be a losing proposition. Tax breaks to the rescue. Whereever you set up a manufacturing plant, you're going to wind up paying taxes associated with the plant, whether in the U.S. or abroad. Tax breaks to the rescue. U.S. manufacturers allowed to deduct those foreign income taxes from the U.S. income tax obligations. In other words, we the taxpayers, pay for the foreign income taxes of multi-national corporations IN FULL.

    March 14, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  25. Fair is Fair

    The only jobs government "creates" are government or government-funded jobs, and those are a net drain on the economy. The government can, however, create an environment that spurs private sector growth. But nooooooooo... the environment they create is one of over-regulation and uncertainty. Businesses are going to think twice before expanding under those conditions.

    March 14, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
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