Unemployment Benefit extension update and economic review today March 10, 2014:
Millions of Americans will tune in this week to see if the Senate is able to pass an extension of benefits for the long term unemployed in America. Approximately 2 million Americans are considered long term unemployed and have exhausted their provisions of emergency unemployment compensation. Long term unemployment benefits expired for many on December 28, 2013. Each week that passes adds tens of thousands more to the ranks of Americans that are long term unemployed without benefits. The Senate has tried on multiple occasions in 2014 to pass a measure to extend long term unemployment benefits but has failed to generate enough support for the measure each time.
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been unable to agree on the terms of the extension plan, specifically the payment terms. Republicans would like for the benefit extension to be paid for through offsets in the budget. They do not want to kick the repayment can down the road for future generations to pay off.
Last Thursday, a group of Senate Republicans presented another plan to extend benefits to the Senate. Their proposal would extend unemployment benefits for an additional five months. This extension plan proposal amounts to a shorter period of time, by one month, than the most recent Democratic proposal. Rob Portman of Ohio, Dan Coats of Indiana, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the GOP Senators sponsoring the legislation.