Unemployment Benefits Extension Stalls in Senate

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Update Oct. 18: The Senate has come to the decision to modify the House bill to include all states, not just ones with unemployment rates greater than 8.5%. The change will come in the form of S. Amndt. 2668 to the House Bill, H.R. 3548 according to Open Congress blogger Donny Shaw.

In normal times, unemployment benefits last twenty-six weeks after someone loses their job. In normal times, it takes newly unemployed people less than 26 weeks to find a job… until today. But we aren’t in normal times. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the first time since 1948, when they started collecting this information, that the average time it takes to find a job is longer than the 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

The House of Representatives passed a bill last month (H.R. 3548) that would extend unemployment benefits in high-unemployment states by 13 weeks. The Senate is debating similar bills (S. 1699 was referred to committee) and the fight is over who gets benefits and how much.

S. 1699 would give an extra 13 weeks to states with unemployment rates higher than 8.5% funded by extending unemployment tax on employers.

These last few months emphasize how important it is to have an emergency fund. Standard unemployment benefits offer six months of income, if everyone had a six month emergency fund then it would matter less if the average time to find a job was longer than 26 weeks. People would still have money saved to pay for things.

Should we be taxing employers and giving the money to people without jobs? I’m not against helping people who are in trouble, we all should try to look out for each other, but this may be the wrong way to go about it. I think that companies they need to pay extra for the people they already hire, they probably will be hiring less. Fewer new jobs means longer employment periods and higher rates. Is this the right direction anyway?

{ 90 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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90 Responses to “Unemployment Benefits Extension Stalls in Senate”

  1. Texas Wahoo says:

    I don’t see how it makes any sense to extend benefits in states over X% unenployment. Either extend it for all or have some sort of optional opt-in system for states. Just because certain states have not done a good job diversifying their economies does not mean they should be treated differently.

    • givenuplooking says:

      i dont want to hear anything from texas youall are the ones that cultivated that braindead president bush nwo a%^#wipe so dont say anything we are still waiting for texas to suseed and return to mexico i hate even going through texas what a bunch of brokeback mountain state troopers hell i think all texans are traitors sumpin wierd goin on down in texas must be in the water

  2. TJ says:

    Carl, do some research, S.1699 is dead in committee. It is identical to HR3548 which the House has already passed. It is HR3548 the Senate is considering, hopefully this week. Do not fret Carl, Emma just has not done her homework and some other bloggers appear confused as well. To continue the error, will perpetuate more confusion. If you would like to see the matter look here:

    It is on the Senate Calendar, General Orders, item #174.

  3. It’s a curious recovery indeed. Market is up huge again today, and as I wrote in my post on the 10 things i learned from this recession, the market doesn’t care about unemployment. The market just cares about making money as it is representative of corporations profits.

  4. Not Everyone in FL is Retired says:

    Every person who is collecting unemployment needs to send a letter to their senator encouraging a vote to pass this bill.

    Everyone is concerned right now about their representatives and how they are voting because this issue is hitting close to home. Just remember not to get too complacent after you have found a job and get back in the routine of your life and pay attention to what else is being decided “for our benefit.” Imagine the pressure on Congress if just the unemployed voters kept track of bills being presented and voted on…that’s more attention then they’ve probably ever gotten and maybe they will start working for us full time.

    You can get an email telling you what is up for vote and how your rep voted. Didn’t your boss keep track of what you were doing (when you had a job!!!).

    • Sofia says:

      I called senators of Pennsylvania and written emails. No response. I am now emailing the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. This is complete BS. What is the hold-up? Nothing in the news about this either, isn’t that strange???

  5. Charlie says:

    I lost my job as a professional chemist in April as the company who bought the lab ran off the sales department in mass and other managers due to their extreme micro-managing. I lost my job as the idiots lost the main client for the work I did through clear mismanagement and greed. I have been trying to find a job since before last Thanksgiving and have not found but one job I could apply for–working for $8 per hour at a scrap yard–a hard job for someone 61 years old. I have sold essentially all my possessions and have little left other than this computer to show for a life of 7 day weeks and working most holidays. I have to file bankruptcy to get rid of my car as I can’t afford the payments any longer. I suggest that anyone who has not had to look for a job for a long time to do so just as an experiment. The largest hospital here had 50 openings in the IT department and received 55,000 applications. Even the most menial minimum wage job requires specific work experience, usually at least 6 months of doing the exact same job. I have benefited from the Stimulus Program as have many others–an extra $100 per month through next June and a $5300 grant for re-training in the IT industry. So far nothing. I will receive several more months of extended State benefits but after that I will have to work at McDonald’s or somewhere similar if they will even hire me. 99% of all jobs require an on-line application. So much for cover letters and interviews. I have applied for over a hundred jobs and not received so much as a screw you email. I hope the 15 million unemployed act as a group and get these fat-cat swine Republicans out of office–the “profit before people” party. We may not have jobs but we can vote.
    No one in Washington has any idea what the unemployed are up against and have no interest in finding out. For those of you who think the unemployed are lazy and just sit around and watch TV and deserve no help at all and think the recovery is doing well because of the stock market, why don’t you ask a few unemployed people just how great things are for them. What are millions of people supposed to do–be homeless or commit suicide when their money runs out? In summary if you are fortunate enough to have a job and haven’t had to look for a new one recently, you have absolutely no idea what the unemployed are up against and should keep your comments to yourselves until you do some research. Simply try to find a job like the one you have as an experiment. I have lost my home, wife, and don’t even have a chair that belongs to me. Luckily if I can survive one more year, I can retire at 62 next Oct. and live like a peasant after so many years of hard work. It is very hard to have any hope for the future and very hard to look at the rest of my life as anything but more punishment, for what I don’t know–all because of continuous and never-ending greed and pathetic management at the companies I have worked for. So much for the American Dream; the American Disaster would better describe our situation. America is going down due to our pathetic government who serves not the public, but only themselves. What do you think is going to happen when China shows up and wants all their money for the loans we have foolishly taken out just so greed can continue on? Good luck to the employed and unemployed. Some day if humans survive, someone is going to look back at history and wonder “how could they have been so greedy and stupid when the truth was so clear.” See you in Kansas after all the ice in the world melts.

  6. sanctimonious1 says:

    The taxes used to fund additional and EMERGENCY federal unemployment insurance benefits extensions are long-existent employment taxes formulated as the result of the Great Depression in the 1930s when the unemployed had no lifeline. The current TEMPORARY increase in this tax will amount to $14 per year per employee. The bill S-1699 currently stalled in the U.S. Senate does nothing more than extend this $14 per employee per year increase/provision by one year into 2010. The original provision enacted under the Bush administration was legislated in the summer and fall of 2008 for only one year (who knew it would get so bad?). Then along came the winter of 2009 when unemployment reached historic and horrific proportions, so the subsequent/current Congress passed another amendment providing for a third federal unemployment insurance benefits extension (we are now on, count ’em, #4). It is important to remember that federal and state unemployment insurance is an employment tax that is really an insurance policy premium. Think government-mandated workers compensation insurance coverage that ALL employers must pay on all employees, yet those private insurance companies don’t have to ask anybody when they feel they need to raise their rates to provide for worker compensation benefits for employees hurt on the job. To provide EMERGENCY funds for the long-term unemployed through a MINOR and TEMPORARY increase in a common employment tax is prudent and precedented. It’s been done before in other recessions, but none of those recessions have approached this current ‘Great Recession’ in scope and magnitude. Balking at the extension of a temporary and minor increase in a tax like this to fund a literal lifeline to millions of Americans is inappropriate and inhumane. Find another tax to bitch about, why don’t ya?

  7. Lee Y says:

    You dumb*ss. Detroit has been hit the longest and the hardest in the whole country. We deserve to get it longer, fast and receive a higher pay-out. You don’t know your head from your *ss

  8. Lee Y says:

    the Republicans can kiss my ass!

  9. Vickie says:

    I am a 50 year old female and have worked hard all my adult life. I worked my way from the bottom up and became a main team member in a manufacturing environment. I never went to college or earned a degree, I got there by my own hard work and merrit. Now, trying to find a job in my line of work is just about impossible. If there are any openings at all they are gobbled up by young students with degrees. I have taken some classes and am trying to change my career path, but even that is proving difficult to do. I finally found a part time position that will at least give me some experience. We as a country spend billions on helping foreign countries and in funding a war we should not even be fighting. We need to focus on our people and our country and get in top shape before we start spending our money on other nations. Please extend the unemployment benefits to help people make a new start.

  10. Gary says:

    The two clueless Republicans holding up the unemployment extension bill H.R.3548 are Jon Kyle from Arizona (202) 224-4521 and Orrin Hatch from Utah (202) 224-5251.

    Everyone give them a wakeup call for the unemployed who are now without benefits, and each week more join the list. Six million unemployed = Depression! Nationally, employers have dumped over 260,000 jobs, meaning that these are jobs that no longer exist.

    Sign the petition to Stop the Senate from denying extended unemployment at:

    The Senate Republicans are out of touch, delusional and not serving the people. Truly failure of government at a time of its citizens’ highest need.

  11. Jim says:

    Im not quite getting it? How about the Emergency extended Benefits are they extending that too? the Tier 2? I hope they will

  12. Barbara says:

    What’s happening, where’s the unemployment extension or is it called the Federal Emergency extension, whatever it’s called, where is it???? I worked for the same company for 15 yrs, my company moved when the economy went south, I was at the top of my game, really good at what I did….. I have a professional license, college degree and I can’t find work in my field.

  13. Robert999 says:

    The Petition to the Senate to Pass S.1699 (H.R. 3548) has now reached 1200+ signatures. Please continue to notify friends and relatives of the Petition and please continue to post the Petition link on other websites. The Petition contains the powerful stories of many of the unemployed. Hopefully, we can get the national media interested in the Petition and the stories of the unemployed. Thank You!

  14. If the government can give Citibank $45 billion in bailout money, and then stand aside and allow them to raise base pay by 50%, then the government should CERTAINLY increase unemployment benefits by 6 more months!!!


  15. tina says:

    Im single with 4 kids and my benefits stopped at the end of august. i now lay awake at night and wonder if i can even keep a roof over my kids head.. let alone feed them. ive worked since i was 15 im 38 now.. and havent been able to find a job for over a year. are they passing the bill or not… this hold up is burden on all of us hard working americans… i dont get it.. but one thing is for certain… i know who im voting for come next election.

    • stephanie says:

      maybe you should try to get foodstamps until things get better at least then you know that your kids will be able to eat ! I am in the same boat as you I have 4 kids also and thats what I HAD TO DO !

  16. Jim says:

    If and when bill HR3548 is passed, who will it include? I hope it will include those of us who already exhausted their benefits. I exhausted mine in late September.

    • Terri says:

      Yes. I want to know if t will include those of us who already exhausted their benefits.

    • Terri says:

      Did you send email…? You have a job!

    • stephanie says:

      yes it does include us people who have exhausted all of our benefits. I know this because my case worker contacted me to let me know that when or if the bill is passed I will recieve the checks if I have not found work yet

  17. Keith in New Jersey says:

    I would bet my last dollar ( if I had one ) that those of us who are unemployed are not reason for this Country being in the mess that it is in . I would ask the member’s of the U.S. Senate can they make a such a statement ? The answer is simple no they cannot because if they had of been doing there job ( correctly ) than we would not be in the mess that we are in .

  18. Pat Flasher says:

    I have been unemployed since June of last year. I went and received a diploma from an LPN school, am taking my state test in two weeks and quess what? There is no hiring being done in my area for LPN’s. So much for education! My unemployment will cease in 6 weeks and no prospects in my area with rates Of 11% unemployment. Get off your duffs, Senators, and pass this bill!!!!

  19. Not Everyone in FL is Retired says:

    It is possible that a decision will be made tomorrow to “consider” the bill. How many of you are interested in the homebuyers tax credit? That is one of the amendments that is being attached to the bill. What is it going to take for these people to understand the definition of “emergency”? Are there any groups who have contacted the news media to put pressure on the Senate to vote ASAP and get rid of the amendments that are bogging down this bill? I have written to my senator several times, but I really believe we need a loud voice putting the pressure on…do the senators really care about all the emails they get…do they even see them?

  20. Rick – I think you’re probably right. I just think it’s always good to challenge the government’s statistics. I don’t plan to ever be brainwashed by big brother.

    Jim – I sent a shout out to you today in my latest post entitled “6 Figures & Unemployment – Challenging Reality By Engaging The Community”


  21. givenuplooking says:

    republicans are retarded they will hold this up trying to include something about acorn that has nothing to do with unemployment while thousands more that are paying there mortgage with it will get behind and add to the mess and shitty housing numbers thats true blu republican style screw the people they are so out of touch they still live in the days of slavery thats why they like the borders open free cheap labor

  22. bugsy says:

    i agree with every 1 who has run out of money and needs help now not somewhere down the line.the only ones holding up this bill is the rich republicans. who will never run out of money.i worked at my job for 23yrs before plant shut down , due to bad economy, 2 yrs ago. my savings are dangerously low. they need to get up off their tales and at least vote. tired of wating with no apparent end in sight.

  23. bugsy says:

    and another thing we cant even buy the gov health insurance if we have no money. of which they find so important. to waste three weeks on.

  24. Sofia says:

    This is lunacy! Pass this extension. I was laid off from a very large bank in Nov. 2008. I am still unemployed. I have had 3 interviews in this time…that is horrible. I have now had an interview at TGIF (waitressing)…they said lots of people have applied to serve. I’ll know soon. In the meantime, unemployment benefits helps Americans. What the hell is wrong with the senate???

    • gaveuplooking says:

      the same thing thats wrong with congress they cant agree on anything the repubs just vote anything that the dems propose its called stonewalling they absolutly will not vote on anyhthing the dems have brought to the table they all get together in there good ol boy club network and whisper to eachother not to vote for this or that mean while our brothers and sisters suffer not because its not a good bill but because there buddy repub said not to vote for it …total conspiracxy fuck em ill never vote for another republican as long as i live ,ill vote for some whacko on the green party before i vote for them

  25. anthony says:

    my e.b runs out on december 30 2009 will i be egilible for this extension.

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