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12:00pm November 30, 2011

Will Unemployment Benefits Be Extended?

unemployment-benefits-cut

The failure of the Super Committee last week has tripped a deadline for unemployment benefits. The benefits are set to expire in 32 days on December 31st unless Congress extends them. If the benefits are not extended, 2.2 million Americans will lose their assistance in February 2012.

Though President Obama is challenging Congressional Republicans to renew the payroll tax cut which is also set to expire on the last day of the year, he has not yet mentioned unemployment insurance.  Here we go again: The President’s deal with Congressional Republicans led by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) in December 2010 extended unemployment and the Bush tax cuts.

President Obama is scheduled to speak on the payroll tax cut on Wednesday in Scranton, PA. Whether he will mention unemployment benefits is unknown. The Senate is due to take up the payroll tax cut this week.

The unemployment rate is 9%. An estimated 14 million Americans are unemployed. The Black unemployment rate reached a 27 year high of 16.7% in August. It is now 15.1%.

The Bush tax cuts were extended for two years and the unemployment benefits were extended for one. The Bush tax cuts cost $800 billion for two years and was unpaid for. Another unemployment extension would cost $50 billion.

In what may shape the debate to come, GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain came out against extending unemployment benefits asking, “No, where do we stop?”

“Extending unemployment benefits, extending the cut in the payroll tax are just distractions from the bigger problem, which is lack of economic growth which has not been there. Secondly, we’re spending money we do not have,” Cain added.

Cain’s views are similar to those expressed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) on September 4. DeMint said, “we have to realize we have a lot of people gaming the system” regarding unemployment benefits. DeMint, a Tea Party favorite, also said, “We have to have unemployment but the longer you make it the more perverse incentives you create. I’ve talked to a lot of businesses in South Carolina who can’t get employees to come back to work because they’re getting unemployment and they’re getting food stamps and they say call me when the unemployment runs out.”

Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Sander Levin (D-MI) promise a fight for unemployment benefits when Congress returns.  Levin has already offered legislation, H.R. 3346, to extend unemployment through 2012.  A rally on Capitol Hill is planned for this week.

Lee’s legislation, H.R. 589, would extend unemployment to those who have exhausted it by 14 weeks.  This group, known as the “99ers” have already run out of benefits which, in most states, is 99 weeks.  Lee has been in conversations with the White House on the issue through Gene Sperling, who is Assistant to President Obama on Economic Policy.  Her legislation costs $16 billion.

In October, the number of long-term unemployed who’ve been out of work for 27 weeks+ was 5.9 million, or 42% of total unemployment.

“When you run out of unemployment benefits after 99 weeks that’s it,” Rep. Barbara Lee said on the House floor on November 17.  “The number of job seekers have run out of unemployment benefits than those receiving them,” Lee said. “Extending benefits for the 99ers is the right thing to do for millions of Americans who were laid off through no fault of their own. They watched as corporations took over their government and ran the economy into the ground. They watched as the banks raided the nation’s treasury as millions of Americans lost their jobs,” Lee said.



About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer and political analyst. She created the blog Crewof42, a blog that covers African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin and on WHUR, WURD, and WVON. Ms. Burke has enjoyed employment at USAToday.com and ABC News. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail anytime: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @Crewof42




 
 

 
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32 Comments


  1. [...] the Lee/Scott legislation on the 99ers.  Will have some answers a little later in the day. The latest on the unemployment benefits issue can be seen at POLITIC365.COM. READ HERE Be Sociable, Share! Tweet   Related [...]


  2. chunny

    Extend benefits to 99ers. YOU'RE GONNA GET THE MONEY BACK AWAY…MY GOODNESS!


  3. chunny

    Extend benefits to 99ers. YOU'RE GONNA GET THE MONEY BACK ANYWAY…MY GOODNESS!


  4. Bob

    Help the unemployed workers and extend benefits to 99ers.


  5. The benifits should be extended because there is a lack of jobs and the government continues to bail out big corporations but is not even will to give the people peanuts in comparison.


    • Dave

      I agree, I've been laid off sinceJan, 2008 and I can't find any work full, part, or contract work, I'm almost ready to loose my house while the people in washington can't agree on crap. maybe if they lost their job and had to get food stamp than maybe they would be ageeable. As far as I'm concerned there shouln't be a cap for people who were laid off!


      • me2

        I've been laid off since March 2011 because of state budget cuts. I am diligently looking for a job and have had a couple of interviews but when 100 people apply for one job your odds aren't very good. I feel very unsure about my future because I do not like my future depending on our government. If they cut us off they'll hear from us come campaign time. Already went thru my retirement acct. & owe the IRS for doing it.


  6. William R. Jackson

    Please help the 99 ers. I am a 71 year worker with no job and I had to sell every thing I own including my car this extended benefits would get me back to work.


  7. Sally

    I was laid off not by my choice, my job was outsourced. It's alot harder for older people to get jobs these days. I have over 20 years of experience in the financial industry and I cant find a job. Please extend the benefits.


  8. Guest

    We are struggle ling!!!! This is COOS!!! Help the 99ers!!!!!


  9. Kathy

    Please help us. There are so many people who have fallen through the cracks. The unemployed are still people, who are struggling to find employment. There aref few jobs in CA, and for every job, there are 200 applicants. Most people have been laid off through no fault of the employee. The corporate greed, and the managers still make the higher salaries, while the employee gets nothing.


  10. Kathleen

    Im a 99'r …since losing my job have had to move in with my daughter. My whole life has been turned upside down, still have yet to find work.
    They just dont have any idea how all this affects ones life/health and well being.The least they could do is extend unemployment for all including the 99rs
    On this Holiday season lets hope they have it in their hearts to think of others who are less fortunate then themselves.


  11. a douglas

    amazingly the unemployment rate drops because funds run out and it shows on those active or applying for benefits. we are still unemployed with no jobs and we're suppose to re elct those who are offering nothing in ways of support for us. can the whole bunch and start fresh, quit helping other countries until we are stable enough for our own people. the constitution says "we the people" not those other countries. wake up and let's get it right before it goes any further


  12. eriberto nunez

    ive been out of work for almost 1 year, extention of unemployment will help me get a job, it will give me more time to look for a job,,,if not i will go on welfare for a year,,,they pay my rent for 1 year, food stamps, and a personnel check!!! ive been collecting for 10 months!!!! 14 millons americans need this extension


  13. Sheila Kavanagh

    The reason people don't want to go back to work is that the salary may be lower than they are receiving on unemployment (plus they will have transportation) and they are hoping to get a better job. This has always been a problem. The government should set up a system that allows people on unemployment to go back to work and receive the difference from unemployment if their salary is lower. I know a lot of people would not agree;maybe there would be some abuse but it would benefit many people who can't afford to take a job that pays a lower salary.


    • sportnewsallthetime

      Your post is wrong! I am a 99er and have 99er friends and family members that would kill for work now. Most people with common sense know they will have to re-enter the work force with a much lower salary. Many have been unemployed for so long they would gladly take the job.


    • Roger

      I live in Alabama where my unemployment is $265 a week. I was making nearly $1000 a week when I was working. I think my salary was a little higher when I was working. Please note that not every state has the same unemployment weekly payout.


  14. Gre

    At the 99 week point (or even earlier), I think we need to say in exchange for unemployment, here is a job that would help the USA, whatever it is along the lines of infrastructure improvement, health aide, teachers aide, driver, helper for senior citizens, civilian conservation programs, etc. You can have 4 hours a week for job interviews, but you either need to move to where the jobs are, retrain, or work for the benefit. Two years without work– amazing, after a year, I would move to North Dakota, where jobs are plentiful.


  15. S Ward

    I am an individual who dedicated 15 years of my life to the same employer until a little over two years ago. I was dismissed from my position in 2009. As a result I was awarded the benefit of receiving unemployment. Yes, during the time it lasted it was very helpful. I was able to pay my bills and support my family while in the process of searching for another job. Today, I have exceeded my 99 weeks of entitlement. It has been four months since I lost my benefits and I have not been successful with finding a job. With this being said I do not have any income coming in at this time. I hold an associate’s, bachelor’s, and I am currently working on my master’s degree. So far I am paying my bills with the money I get back from school because finding a job becomes more difficult each day. It is sad to know that I worked and paid my taxes to the government throughout the years I was employed. However, today when I need the government to help me, their best response is to “get off my ass” and get a job. Has it occurred to them that if there were jobs out there available today, I will be working right now!
    Further speaking, I am aware that some individuals in congress are working in favor of people like me and they are trying to extend the benefits for those who exceeded their 99 weeks entitlement. However, I personally believe that extending the benefits for a period of 14 weeks will only put everyone back in the same boat within the period of 3 months. During this time if the economy does not pick up as we all expect it too; people will have to approach congress again in regards for another extension. Though, if in reality they want to help us they should extend the benefits for 24 weeks. The reason being is because many individuals will have the opportunity of searching for an employment position before facing the fear of having to lose the benefits once again before one can even get a job.


  16. sportnewsallthetime

    The 99ers really have a hard time competing for work. If you are without income, there is an issue with gas money in order to make it to an interview. You need decent interviewing clothing and people without cars need to be able to pay for transportation. Without the extended benefits, they will continue to be at a disadvantage.


  17. [...] hopeful. Rep. Sander Levin, who is the most senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee (and who is leading the charge to extend unemployment benefits in general) was almost speechless when I asked him about the 99ers last night.  Remember that Levin is in the [...]


  18. denise

    The Government does not care! About any of Us. Banks were handed BIG BAILOUTS money to help folks from losing their homes, Well homes were still lost and they are still losing them today. While homes were being lost CEO"s were living it Up!! Wall Street living it up. The Big Dogs are getting richer by the minute!! And they are not doing their JOBS for you and I. If I went to work and did not do my JOB I would be caned. WE THE PEOPLE are letting them get by with this.
    I am sick of worry all the time how I am going to feed my kids, or pay a bill. Or just get gas in the car to find work. Someone mentioned above that there is jobs out there, Yes there is but when over 100 people are applying for one position, or it takes half of your check to get back in forth to work each week.
    I really never thought that things would get this bad. Some folks says it is getting better. Well I sure DO not see it. And my family does not feel it.
    If unemployment is not extended I know several folks that are going to be out in the streets!


  19. Jessica

    I lost my job in February 2009 because it went out of business. I had continued to look for work and nothing around me is hiring. This last October I had lost my unemployment benefits and they told me to continue to file. I have 2 babies under the age of 2 and I just lost my apartment and now have to struggle to find a new one that I can afford. This extension would help drastically. I just pray that they make a decision, hopefully before Christmas.


  20. Jim

    I can not agree more. After 10 years of loyal service to the same employer, my company went bankrupt and laid off it's entire staff (myself and my wife included). I am now among the millions of Americans depending on unemployment insurance. Congress needs to stop playing politics with people's lives and actually do something to help real Americans in real trouble.


  21. Doug

    I lost my job in August and have been unsuccessful in finding anything since. I am now in the process of losing my home and most likely will end up selling everything I own to make ends meet. I am not alone as there are thousands out there in my prediciment. We all need this unemployment insurance extention to survive until we can secure another job. At least it will pay the utilities and hopefully a cheaper place to live once I lose my home.


  22. jim

    I lost my job in november 2010 I have been
    Looking for work every sence it be a big help to extend unemployment insurance. there’s no jobs out here right now I have now saints lost my car & apartment I am now receiving benefits if they are not extend it I don’t know what I’ll do please extend.


  23. zizo

    me i am 99 ere with out job since 2006 there is no job in USA may be i go to India there is alto of jobs as Obama said they want us out of USA


  24. Paul Neves

    I am 58yrs old. I never had to use unemployment! I have worked ever since I was 16yrs old. I became self employed to supplement my income which I then lost by lay off. Now I am struggling and I need that unemployment to just make ends meet. My self employment is all I have. We have cut the T.V. and cable, the land phone line, we planted vegies, cut the newspaper, payed off medical bills of $8,000.00 that were paid in cash over the last 3 years. My wife and I have not been able to afford medical insurance for the last 3 years. We have used up all our savings. My wife works part time and also needs unemployment to make up for lost hours. Thank God we haven't had a car accident or grave illness. We do have major home repair that has had to be put off for years. We only have high school educations but we struggled to get our daughter through college. She worked hard and did her 4 year studies in three to help us out as well. My son is a sophomore in out local college. The tuition needs to be paid off and we do our best under the circumstances.
    Thank goodness we built our home 12 years ago cash so we don't have a mortgage or some bank threatening us. I didn't believe in all the get rich schemes of the past 20 years. That choice I made is the only reason why we have survived these hard times. But we still have power, water, repairs and taxes to pay. My Dad and Mom survived the Great Depression, my grandfather hid his money in a coffee can because he didn't trust the banks or the government then. Thank God I listened to them.
    I live in Hawaii where my ancestors have resided for thousands of years. Hawaii has the highest cost of living under the U.S. flag and the lowest average income ($20,000.00). We are forced to pay among the highest taxes as well. We have a lot of millionaires here too! They aren't taxed very high at all. This is the reality of Hawaii before the financial crisis, before Obama, before Bush! Homelessness is now all over Honolulu and they sleep on the streets of Waikiki and on every island. We have one of the highest suicide rates under the U.S. They are in much worse a condition then my 'ohana, family. I am a community person who has worked with the less fortunate. They are people. I have always found that being rich is identifying with the poor. That way we live within our means, we share, we support, we adapt, we appreciate, we stretch, we survive and we don't get stepped on. Didn't the prophet say, Blessed are the poor? Please extend the unemployment assistance. How can the U.S. justify 662 BILLION dollars for the U.S. military and not extend the unemployment assistance to its own civilian population?


  25. Stacey Wood

    Laid of Feb 2010, still cannot gain employment.
    12 years with the same company and I am a 40
    year old single mother with a 3 yr old.
    My home is in foreclosure and everything I have
    worked for is gone and I have no hope.
    Credit is shot, no money coming in to support me and my daughter. If your not going to extend benefits then
    at least find me a freaking job!!!!! Unemployment
    numbers are way off here in Texas, it’s more like
    10% unemployed and yet we send billions overseas
    to help suffering countries? We are suffering here in the
    United States, we, the people paying taxes so you can send it to other countries? The US is fucked up, period.


  26. rose

    Can someone please answer my question? Are unemployment benefits reduced if you are on / off it for 4 years?


  27. A vote for Obama was a vote for unemployment, poverty, Corruption in Politics, Home Foreclosures, Halting of Oil Drilling on Government Land, Lack of Morality, Military Cuts, People Hating the USA, Racism, Raising the Debt Ceiling, the Rise of al-Qaeda, the Rise of The Muslim Brotherhood, the Rise of Taxes, The War on Christmas, Treasury Dept. Printing of Money.

    There will be years and year of darkness in the world.
    God is our only hope!



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