Senators Reach Agreement on Emergency Unemployment Assistance Extension (Updated)


UPDATE: On March 19, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued a statement effectively declaring dead S. 2148, the Senate bill that would have extended emergency unemployment assistance to the long-term unemployed. Citing a letter to Senate leaders from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies that raised concerns with the implementation of some of the bill’s provisions, Boehner said he was “willing to look at extending emergency unemployment benefits again” if “Washington Democrats” would craft a bill that was more to his liking. Since House Republicans allowed the unemployment assistance to expire in December, Boehner has insisted that any renewal of the emergency assistance to be accompanied by spending cuts in other programs and a guarantee of job growth.

To unemployed Americans who have been without a job for six months or more, the U.S. Senate offered a glimmer of hope last week that the emergency unemployment insurance benefits that ran out three days after Christmas might be restored by the arrival of spring. But just a glimmer.

On Thursday, Senate leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties reached a deal that sets the stage for a vote in the chamber when senators return from a week-long St. Patrick’s Day recess. The deal is expected to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster. But its prospects in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are less certain.

Crafted by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV), the $10 billion package would extend the unemployment assistance by five months, retroactive to the December 28 date when they last expired for the long-term unemployed. The New York Times reports that the additional funding would be paid for “by extending certain fees levied by United States Customs and Border Protection as well as by temporarily changing the way private corporations fund their pensions.”

In a written statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), said of the deal, “This bipartisan compromise will help Americans who depend on unemployment insurance to pay the rent while they continue looking for a job. In Nevada alone, 26,000 unemployed workers would see their lifeline restored. I am confident that we will pass this bill in the coming days. More than two million Americans depend on Congress approving this agreement.”

As the mid-term congressional elections approach, some Republicans may be more inclined to support the unemployment assistance extension, given that polls, such as this January survey conducted by Quinnipiac University, shows majority support for renewing the benefits. However, although the poll showed a total of 58 percent in favor of the extension, when broken out along party lines, a majority of Republicans opposed it. And the electorate of a mid-term election typically comprises the most ideological voters in each party.

With many House districts now drawn in a heavily gerrymandered fashion under the control of Republican state legislatures and governing entities, a significant number of congressional members need to heed the demands of their base, rather than the sentiments of the national majority, in order to retain their seats.

Assuming the Senate passes the deal hammered out by Reed and Heller, whether House leaders will endorse the legislation remains to be seen.

After the deal was announced late Thursday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement saying that President Obama was calling on both the House and the Senate to pass the deal into law.

“The President has repeatedly called on Congress to take action on a compromise solution to extend this vital lifeline for millions of hard-working Americans as they look for work and support their families,” Carney wrote. “This is not just the right thing to do for these Americans looking for work, it’s the right thing to do for our economy.”

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  • Ufoevidence101 .

    a week-long St. Patrick’s Day recess!!! What a joke! These guys take more vacations than anyone in the country.

    • MGN87

      come on now…they only take a week, every other week…discuss a few things, over 15 games of golf…no biggie…rof…

    • Conrad Amerson

      They just came off vacation 2 weeks ago!!!!!

      • Jerome

        My unemployment will run out at the end of April.I hope they do something by then or I am on the streets.

    • Amici412

      I “think” when they’re on recess; they’re working in their districts… I do not think they get 25wks/year for “recess”..

    • Bill Jones

      Yeah

  • NeedsVacation

    JOHN BOEHNER IS GOING TO BE AN ISSUE

    Contact Rep. Boehner’s office and push for this extension. I’ve called and left a message and I would recommend you do the same. Mr. Boehner is difficult and with a Republican majority House we could use as much of a push as possible. Republicans are a dying breed, so I would assume their days are numbered. I give Republicans 5-10 more years and they will be a party of the past.

    Good luck everyone

    • Mark Blau

      I hope it takes less than 5-10 years. The way the Republicans ignore the interests and wishes of most of their constituents will hopefully bring out more voters to vote them out of office. Personally I think Boehner should be voted out now. That would be a brilliant beginning.
      Calling and emailing every Republican rep I can.

      If you guys could call or email Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and pressure her to vote yes for the unemployment extension it will give us an extra vote as a cushion to the 60 votes. She was part of the plan they came up with but backed out and now is on the fence Because they didn’t put in every item on her list. Tell her to quit thinking of her personal agenda and do the right thing by voting yes.

    • mcm

      I pray it happens this NOV election!!!

    • expect_resistance

      Great idea. I talked to my Rep. and he is fighting for the extension. Let’s keep up the fight!

  • Victoria

    There should be a new bill if congress takes their time on matters that effect people from living their day to day lives if we have to wait they should have to wait on their check too! Why would you vacation when a single vote can cause a family to be put on the street or go without food. Shame on them! Explain to my kids why they may have to go to a shelter because you need a vacation from how to make a bigger mess in this country off of my tax dollars. Dear Republicans please explain to my 6 and 3 year your measure of reasoning.

    • expect_resistance

      The Republicans have no reasoning.

      Sorry to hear about your situation. I really hope congress get’s it together and passes an extension. This is a life-line that has been cut off and needs to be restored ASAP.

    • Will

      Victoria. Its not the Republicans, it’s all of them, and they are not on vacation (or they aren’t supposed to be) they are returning to their districts to take care of local work. This is supposed to keep them in touch with their constituents. Yeah, its rfustrating, but at least you should be able to get in touch with your congressthing this week.

      • Erik

        ITS ALL THESE FUCKING OLIGARCHS… THEY CARE BOUT THEMSELVES.. ASSHOLES WHO ARE NOT HUMANS.. DO LIKE WE UKRAINIANS DID TO YANUKOVYCH.. OVERTHROW BY ANY MEANS THE TYRANNY OF THE TWO PARTIES.. INSTALL MULTIPARTY SYSTEM.. EUROPEAN MODEL IS THE BEST.. ONLY ARMED VIOLENCE WILL BRING CHANGE, THOUGH MANY WILL DIE FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM.. THE USA = USSR.

        • PoliticalMayhem

          The problem is the small sect of global Diplomatic persons, the rich elite.
          Mind you these are no elected diplomats, they are royalty, BORN AND BRED.
          Everyone who had a foreclosure is another profit renter on their rolls.
          While you foreclose they fly into the nearest ITL Airport with their oil rig money or bit coin or stock profits and buy 10 houses in one single neighborhood block and raise the rent for the whole area by hundreds a month and then they foreclose and the bank keeps every dime and its never seen again by any..

          Then their foreign railroad owner friend wants to buy all that from the bank and make all the people they made jobless or homeless pay to ride a boondoggle which will only reduce independently owned homes, farms, and business further when they are accustomed to having a car? How about ‘No to trans rural urban blight’.

    • rro

      Victoria, I agree with you. If their paychecks were put on hold until they pass the bill, this would be their first priority. They get to go home every day with their pockets and bank accounts lined with money while they dangle the extension in our face. President Obama need to make them stay at work until the deal is reached and he is handed the bill to sign. The rich keeps getting richer while the poor keeps getting poorer. Shame on them.

  • big cheese

    These republicans are always ready to back up some foreign countries that need help but say fuck there own..they call there own people takers and lazy but it’s because of there fuck ups and corrupt banking system we where laid off of our jobs..they bail out billionaires but say the hell with the middle class and poor it just sickens me to death because I’m actually a registered republican that will never vote that way again..they care nothing about the American people..Only thing they care about is the oil in foreign countries and how they’re businesses can get there hands on a piece of the profit..I hope all of these idiots are voted out of office

    • Erik

      REPUIBLICAN PARTY = NAZI PARTY.. DEMOCRATS = COMMUNIST PARTY… WHICH PARTY WILL YOU BE FOR ? AT LEAST IN UKRAINE WE KNOW OUR FUTURE.. WE OVERTHREW OUR GOVERNMENT AND NOW WE ARE LOSING CRIMEA TO RUSSIA.. BIG DEAL..

      • expect_resistance

        Just curious, are you a fan of Alex Jones?

        • Roman Melnychuk

          I hate Jews, zionists who control America and enslsve unemployed. I am extreme Ukrainian Nationalist, who know how Zionist occupied government try kill people..

          I pray for revolution come to your nation to get rid of republican fascism by zionists.. The true enemies of the unemployed.. Trust me, I am know this.. There bastards ruin Ukraine. Your government run by nazi-mason zionists who care not for unemployed..

          • Arekushieru

            Um, Jews are the complete opposite of the Republicans. The REPUBLICANS are the ones who would have thrown Jews under the bus if they couldn’t use them for their own political agenda. Germans (of which I am one) of the high-ranks in the Nazi Party are the ones responsible for the fascist governments like the ones the Republicans emulate.

  • Ted Cruz

    Hey hey now I work really hard I need rest…you’ll get your lazy no work money when I get around to it….until then might I recommend some Green Eggs and Ham?

    • expect_resistance

      Yes, Green Eggs and Ham. Was Ted stoned when he read that?

      • Jennifer Starr

        You have to be stoned to have a hairstyle like his and think that it’s flattering. Though apparently some conservative women find it attractive, but I’m not surprised–these are probably the same people who thought Paul Ryan was a hunk.

        • fiona64

          Paul Ryan is a smarmy-looking twerp whom I suspect of juicing (and I don’t mean the way Jack LaLanne did it).

  • Getsumbiz1

    I just want to say to anyone in this matter please stay strong and stay far away from anyone that’s not beneficial at this moment in your life, hope for the BEST and prepare for the WORST that’s really all you can do things will get better soon !!!

  • Michael Sullivan

    The American should be what Congress has on there mind .We put them in that position because they ask to be there because they can help yea right my dad always said the only thing worse than a politicion was a child molester.But starting to think that this congress are even lower than the child molester.lets all vote these bastards out.If they can’t put the people first we don’t need them.Unfortunately for us they won’t need unemployment benefits.Maybe we can change that problem too. We need a change an its time for it. Get out an vote for whats right not for either party. Vote for the Person not the party.

  • Tom_F

    I worked 30 years, that is long enough. I wanted to retire, and arranged a layoff for myself. I got a buyout, and enjoyed Unemployment Benefits of $450/week for 9 months. I hope this goes through, because I would like some more free money! Gimme dat freeeeee money!!!

    • Arekushieru

      It’s not free. Or do you not understand how Unemployment Insurance works?

      • Michael Sullivan

        Yea the company pays the state a certain amount of what you make per hr.
        It doesnt come out of your pocket.

      • Tom_F

        It is free. Or do you not understand that it is free to ME?

  • Fisher

    I agree with you 100%! Why aren’t these people nervous on what will happen if they don’t extend unemployment. Right now eveyone is just waiting to see if they will. Most people have the same story. We are either homeless or on the verge. We are all starving. And I think it is safe to say if we could just go get a job by now even the laziest of us would have. I can’t even get hired at a gas station. And the longer this goes on the worse we are. It puts us in the rock and hard place. Need money to pay bills like electric and at least internet,cause everywhere now you have to apply on line, and phone bill incase you are lucky enough to get a call back, money for transportation whether it be your car or bus or taxi and I might add a lot of employers wont hire you if you dont have your own transportation at least where I live. And that is just to try to get a job. What about actualy surviving? I say that because who can call this living?? Ok I agree thing need to change. But like everything that is not going to happen overnight even if they can come up with something. So in the mean time help us. We have already lost our jobs, our pride and dignity. I have literaly lost everything I own. Because I was a single mother that lost my job. I couldnt afford my apartment on unemployment so I put everything I own in the world things I have worked a life time to get things that are priceless to me and can not be replaced in a storage unit. Well I couldn’t pay for it when I lost my benefits in Dec and it is now auctioned off. The transmition broke on my car and not having the money to fix it but still needing to drive it I blew the motor. So I cant even live in my car. And everyday I check the news morning noon and night to see if there is any change. I dont blame one party over the other. I blame them all!! The democrates dropped the ball and gave free way for the Republicans to have the power. And now it is a pissing contest. It is not about the American people. And yes they are nice and cushy. So what if we dont like them? So what if they dont get re-elected. They still get paid dont they? Well what if we got to vote on whether or not they have earned the right to recieve their pension like they are voting to see if we are worthy enough for a life line? Do they not think what will happen to us if they dont help us and soon? Crime rate? Suicide? Homeless? Children being taken from their parents because they can’t feed and cloth and shelter them? Did they not pay attention to history? What happened to people during the Depression? I know my nerves can’t take much more of this. I have no clue what wil become of me and my son if they don’t pass this.You know for those of us who are bleeding to death out here give us the damn bandaid already as they call it. It is better than letting us bleed out. They say if you give a man a fish you feed him once but if you teach him to fish you feed him for a lifetime. Well what if there are no fish? The unemployed have all had jobs. We have all learned to fish in some sort of way.I have this horrible feeling that all this waiting and praying and hoping is just for nothing and then I think a lot of us will have reached our breaking point knowing for sure that there is no light at the end of this dark dark tunnel. The House wont pass it. And then what? WTF most of us will be homeless. Why not campout on their lawns? Why not do something drastic to get their attention like march protest something. Really what do we have to lose now? Nothing. I pray to every God that will listen to me that I am wrong for all of us out there in need of help.

    • L.Warren

      AMEN YOU TOUCH EVERYTHING I’M GOING THROUGH!!!

  • NeedsVacation

    CALL JOHN BOEHNERS OFFICE!

    Rep. John Boehner is going to be the gateway to enacting this program without issue. Contact his office and discuss your position and why extended benefits should continue.
    If it was up toe John Boehner he would discontinue unemployment altogether which is why congressional republicans are a dying breed and are causing a divide with modern America.

    Contact Mr. Boehner.
    Washington, D.C. Office
    1011 Longworth H.O.B.
    Washington, DC 20515
    (202) 225-6205
    (202) 225-0704 fax

    Good luck!

    • Erik

      STILL LIKE MY UKRAINIAN IDEAS FOR AMERICA.. WHAT GOOD WILL THIS MAN DO ? IS HE FOR PEOPLE AND BY PEOPLE, OR IS HE LIKE YANUKOVYCH OR PUTIN ?

      • fiona64

        Is there a reason why you are SHOUTING?

  • Erik

    ARMED REVOLUTIOIN AND AN END TO THE TYRANNY BY US “FASCIST” GOVERNMENT.. THE US GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BE TOPPLED AND OVERTHROWN TO ALLOW A NEW ORDER FOR THE PEOPLE AND BY PEOPLE TO TAKE PLACE.. LEARN FROM UKRAINIANS LIKE MYSELF.. WE HATE THE GOVERNMENT AND YET WE REPLACED IT BY VIOLENCE.

    YOUR GOVERNMENT IS LIKE ANY OTHER IN WORLD.. BECOME REVOLUTIONARY AND FORGET PEACEFUL PROTEST.. CORPORATE AMERICA AND ITS ALLIES SEEK DESTRUCTION OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE WORLD.. GOD BLESS AND LONG LIVE THE END OF FASCIST AMERICA.

    • expect_resistance

      Erik could you please stop posting in all caps. It sounds like you’re yelling.

      • Roman Melnychuk

        Sorry, I try get my point known..

        • Jennifer Starr

          Why do you post as two different people, Erik/Roman?

  • Erik

    THIS IS A GOVERNMENT OF TYRANNY AND DICTATORSHIP.. NAZISM IF YOU MUST.

  • James horton

    If Republicans don’t pass the unemployment bill I hope we get rid of them at election time! If they don’t care about fellow Americans then we shouldn’t care about them!!

  • disqus_v5ukhsr1YR

    Republicans are well positioned to win a few battles but loose the war!

  • Bill Jones

    It’s very sad we can’t work together as one for the United States Of America. I am a Republican and I am ashamed the my Republican Party can work together with the Democrats for America.talking with a lot of my Republican friends we are thinking about changing parties because you’re trying to make did President of the United States look bad at his job but it also make us Republicans look bad too

  • Donna

    Once again, we are stating our frustrations and concerns but we must do something. These idiots in DC were voted in office by us the American people, so we way over 2 million who are unemployed need to do something as a group, think about it we have all got different skills and knowledge that we can bring to the table, what good are these bloggs if we cannot bring it to good use. I am really tired of seeing all these tragic stories while our politicians are vacationing what seems to be every couple of weeks. We need to make sure they are doing what we voted them into doing. Aren’t you all tired of the fact they send billions to the Ukraine war that we as Americans have absolutely nothing to do with???? Aren’t you tired that we seem to take care of everyone else but our government does not give a dam about Americans that fall due to being laid off, we the ones of us that are hard working and have helped to build this country????? Isn’t enough enough???? I am 60 years old by myself and I had to put my stuff in storage, I have no car now and no job and I have had to move in with friends or I would be homeless…there are people out here that are I am sure homeless by now and I hate to even think of the families right now…..We have to do something instead of just voicing our concerns…..I have a email address I set up a few days ago please feel free to email me with any suggestions and lets do something about the idiots in DC!!!!! We can make a difference in numbers and we have alot of skills and knowledge to put to good use!!!!!

    Amarie916@hotmail.com

    • Donna

      After reading some of the bloggs above, please understand that we do not have to start a revolution or take over the government!!!! We as God fearing and intelligent Americans can come together as one and in numbers can have a huge impact on our government and what they do for our country, we do not need to act ignorant as Roman and Eric are doing, please stay in Ukraine, we are not a country filled with hate… We are America and need to stand together regardless of race, origin creed, ect, in this situation and just as Needs Vacation, stated above start by calling Boehner’s office or write to him…..He publicly stated that he does not want to give any more extensions and we that are unemployed are lazy if we are still unemployed after 6 months!!!!! Seriously….who in there right mind would want to be at home on unemployment earning the max benefit mount in Texas it is only a bit over $400 a week which averages to be at the max a bit over $10.00 an hour!!!! For any politician who has the audacity to make public statements about Americans being lazy that are still unemployed is really wrong on so many levels. But that tells me that this politician(S) really needs to be VOTED out!!!!! Please contact him, here is his info: Do something other than blogg about our frustrations and concerns!!!

      Contact Mr. Boehner.
      Washington, D.C. Office
      1011 Longworth H.O.B.
      Washington, DC 20515
      (202) 225-6205
      (202) 225-0704 fax

      • Arekushieru

        So, because Roman and Eric are hate-filled, that means the Ukraine must be a hate-filled country?

  • MarioR

    Wow, just when I thought they had finally come to senses in steps John, a cynical nitpicking piece of crap to stick his Boehner up the ass of the American people in trouble. The program has ended back in Dec. as we all know from our reading and some 3 months have past the American people by. I know people who are presently dealing with situations like eviction, loss of utilities, crime and the simplest of them all HUNGER! Crime is on the rise. Their are more drug dealers then ever littered throughout my neighborhood per street corner and just the other day an old women of 83 years was attacked and knocked to the ground their by breaking her arm as she tried to fight off a purse snatcher. From the lying puppet in the White house to the a-holes in congress, is anyone really taking a good look at the repercussions of our choices. And John, what say you stick that Boehner up your own ass and do your job to help the people of your district because i can assure you that this is not going to go over well at the polls for you in the coming elections because as we all know thats the only thing you walking abortions have any concern for. Lastly this is for Booker, Has anyone seen the latest picture of Booker in congress, that man appears totally clueless. You are without a dought the worst thing to happen to NJ and you need to pull your head out your ass and start doing something to better things here in Jersey. In the coming elections you will get a better understanding on the whole unemployment thing first hand. Crime, Drugs, Suffering, Hunger and what have you done about it? You Make Me Sick

  • Arekushieru

    Um, what? No, that’s pretty much due all to the Republicans filibustering.

    • Michael Sullivan

      The unemployment issue is do to the republicans I agree but the dems are pushing coal out.

  • Arekushieru

    Um, no, people are not less deserving of help just because of where they were born.

  • PoliticalMayhem

    I know some neighbors who got foreclosed before the recent 2008 hit.
    The houses are still empty and vandalized. Heartbreaking because if you take a walk around, there really is enough for everyone.
    There’s plenty of housing already empty but the bank wont let any of us near it. Shame, the bank bailout may still be the death knell.

  • PoliticalMayhem

    Don’t feel bad, I have worked in Tax Firms my whole life.
    During the worst in 10 and 11, even the decades old tax shoguns were struggling and on Federal UI.

    I gave up my sector and I worked in a restaurant for minimum wage and put my tax law, math, clerical, bookkeeping and IRS audit prep skills on the shelf.
    The place went under and the owner defaulted laying off over 35 people in 3 locations. He owed his investor money and now the place is rented by two different restaurants, so consolidation is occurring even as there are vast empty office steps away from this place.

    The places that were closing their doors in 2010-11 still haven’t been rented and are likely foreclosed. The apartments that were available last year at this time still are available a year later which means either a high turnover or vacancy. Either one is not good.

    As an accountant who sees even H&R Block about to start closing locations and the firms I normally work for on the skeleton staffs they have had for a decade ageing out of my generations reach with their ageing client bases aren’t looking to hire this year, and I wonder what I will do with my career now. I got back into my normal line of work for 9 months and was laid off after extensions because my employer could not afford $3 more an hour for my Obama mandated Insurance.

    I think another hit to this economy is coming and Obama has been covering it up for years. The Dems just want to stall long enough to blame the next R White House.

  • PoliticalMayhem

    I am about to take my white collar, college educated finance and business snob nose and crash the blue collar world again, pushing myself as a manager at normal pay to stay off the streets.
    This should worry all of you who argue about who is going to do dishes or garbage after the lunch shift deeply, since I can do both and then cook in the back and then do your payroll for the same pay as you who sits in front of a register and never lifts two fingers to grab a rag — watch out coz im coming in.
    Which means all you GED Dropout brats clamoring for a raise will be shipped out so I can get hired doing YOUR job because mine is in skimpy supply. Not good because taxes are not optional, which means we have a *VERY* low economic/bottom line and labor participation rate and we are almost entirely socialized here in the US thanks to Obama.

    I think another hit to this economy is coming and Obama has been covering it up for years. The Dems just want to stall long enough to blame the next R White House.