The national unemployment rate in the United States remains around 9.6%. Democrats and Republicans will have to cooperate to pass an extension of unemployment benefits. An unemployment extension could add additional weeks to the 99 weeks that are already provided. If there is no congressional movement on this issue, benefits could expire at the end of November.
According to the National Employment Law Project, the deadline to file for federal unemployment checks expires on November 30th and if this deadline is not moved back, almost 1 million people in America will stop receiving unemployment checks from the government within four days.Â Those most affected will be middle income workers whose unemployment benefits are less than their normal salary range.
Republicans have recently gained more power in the House. They do not want to add to the national budget deficit.Â They hold a 239 to 186 seat majority over Democrats in the House of Representatives.Â Republicans have blocked several attempts at unemployment extensions this past year. Now that Republicans have gained control of the House extending benefits to those in need might be even more difficult.
Earlier this year, Senate Republicans killed a bill to extend unemployment benefits, provide aid to state governments and raise taxes on buyout fund managers, saying the measure would add too much to the federal deficit.Â Lawmakers voted 57-41 in favor of the measure, with 60 votes needed to advance it.
Democrats repeatedly cut the bill in an effort to win backing from those who objected to its cost. The bill would have added $33 billion to the budget deficit, a fraction of previous proposals. Republicans said the cost-cutting didnâ€™t go far enough.Â No Republican senators backed the measure. Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the only Democrat to vote against it.Â Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended his party's refusal to approve the jobless benefits, saying they would have added to the deficit.
"Are our friends on the other side willing to extend these programs without adding to the debt?" he asked. "That's the real question in this debate."
What is your opinion?Â Did the American electorate overwhelmingly vote against their own self-interests in Tuesday's midterm elections?Â Would denying further unemployment benefits to millions of Americans increase the poverty rate in the United States of America?
Picture courtesy of Social Security Online
Â©2010 by Lloyd Cope for Gather.comÂ All rights reserved