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

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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. Rudy NYC

    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.
    Texas seems to have done fairly well as a result of creating thousands of government jobs under Rick Perry.

    March 14, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. Willy100

    Let's take the $10BN we would borrow from the Chinese to fund this program to bring HOME some of the MILLIONS of jobs from China – – much BETTER use than just "free stuff for doing NOTHING"

    March 14, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. WOW

    Build LNG terminals....develop energy in America instead of defunct solar companies!!!!

    March 14, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Fair is Fair


    Build LNG terminals....develop energy in America instead of defunct solar companies!!!!
    The government doesn't have to build Keystone. The dreaded private sector will do it.

    March 14, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Dean

    Thanks to Democrats, long-term unemployment is the new normal. Vote Democrat, and you don't need to work ever again. Let other countries take over as world leaders. We have previews of how the U.S. will look in the near future...Detroit, Oakland, East St Louis, any inner-city.

    March 14, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Name

    Five months is all we get....
    after waiting for so long. Just doesnt seem like thats really going to help much. I am NOT lazy or milking it. I'm 32 ready willing and able for work and spend my days actually actively looking for work and churning out the resumes.....why can't they give at least a year. So they'll just have to vote for a longer extention after the five months is up which for most of us will come not long after the extention would start. Must be nice to have a great high paying job and get to have all that PTO! ENJOY YOUR UMPTEENTH BREAK US GOVERNMENT.

    March 14, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Jobless benefits are probably one of the best investments for tax dollars. Granted, there are couch potatoes out there that want to do nothing but sit back and get paid. But. the vast majority of recipients know those checks are for a limited time, and they are out there looking.

    In either case, the money is almost always completely spent, which puts money into the economy, spurring demand for goods. I wonder how much this sudden turn around in conservative support for extended benefits has to do with the roughly 25% drop in Walmart profits since benefits were cut off. Could it be just mere coincidence? Or has it been the weather, or some other set of factors?

    March 14, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
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