Unemployment Benefit Extension News and Notes update today February 7, 2014:
Long term unemployment benefits were allowed to expire for over a million Americans on December 28, 2013 and the Senate has been debating plans to extend ever since. Several attempts were made in January to pass an extension plan but Democrats and Republicans could not agree on plan details. Then, without a resolution at hand, policy leaders went on break. Now it is February and Senate leaders vowed to work on a benefit extension plan.
The most recent attempt to extend long term unemployment benefits would have done so for another three months. Payment for the plan, which has been a major point of contention between Democrats and Republicans, would have been offset by proposed modifications to defined-benefit pension contributions. Still, Democrats and Republicans in Senate were unable to find the necessary votes to move the policy forward. Even worse, the vote was just one shy of breaking the filibuster. Now, the effort to push the long term unemployment benefit extension policy through the Senate is dead. Democrats are accusing Republicans of having no interest in passing the bill but Republicans continue to refute these claims. Majority leader Harry Reid once again promises that policy leaders will keep trying,. He also states that leaders wont give up on the unemployed. After multiple failed attempts though, these words ring hollow for many. Reid’s words hold no power to put food on empty tables.