Republican filibuster cuts off Federal Extended Unemployment Insurance

The following article by Masao Suzuki is from Fight Back! News:

Senate Republican filibuster cuts off Federal Extended Unemployment Insurance, Democrats refuse to use reconciliation process

San José, CA – On June 24, Republican Senators, along with Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson blocked a vote on extending Federal Unemployment Insurance benefits. After the 57-41 vote to end debate (60 votes are needed in the Senate to stop arguing and start voting), Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada pronounced the measure dead.

More than a half a million jobless workers who were receiving unemployment insurance benefits under the Federal Extended Benefits program have already been cut off, whether or not they received the up to 20 weeks of extended benefits promised under the law. Another 600,000 or more unemployed receiving Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) have also had their checks cut off. Another 200,000 jobless will lose their EUC benefits each week when they complete the ‘tier’ of benefits (there are four tiers to the EUC, providing additional 20, 14, 13, and 6 weeks of benefits). By the end of November a total of more than five million people will be cut off, or more than half of everyone who was collecting unemployment benefits.

This will leave only 26 weeks, or half a year, of state unemployment benefits, at a time when almost half of all unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. Many state unemployment benefit funds have already run out of money, and are continuing to make payments with loans from the Federal government. There is no way that states can extend their unemployment benefit programs. To make matters worse, the unemployment benefits bill killed by the Senate Republicans also had moneys to aid states with their rising health care costs, forcing states to cut education and health care programs and/or raise taxes.

While almost all the Democrats voted for extending the unemployment benefits, they have refused to use the ‘reconciliation’ rule that would allow them to end debate by a simple majority vote and then pass the extension. The reconciliation rule was designed to pass budget-related bills. The Democrats used the reconciliation rule to pass their health care reform in the spring, while Republicans used this rule to help pass tax cuts for the rich under the Bush administration. 

This is a problem for working people. The Republicans are outspoken in support of big business and are willing to push hard on tax cuts to benefit the rich. The Democrats claim to be for working people, but they get their money from the same corporations as the Republicans. The Democrats only want to do enough to get our votes at election time and are not willing to go to the mat on matters like unemployment insurance (health care reform was another matter, with big health insurance and drug companies benefiting from government subsidies). Unfortunately, the whole electoral system is rigged in the interests of corporations and the rich. Working people have to organize ourselves and raise a storm of protest that can force the Senate to pass an extension to unemployment insurance benefits that will last as long as the unemployment rate stays high.

3 responses to “Republican filibuster cuts off Federal Extended Unemployment Insurance

  1. More proof that both political parties in the US are corporate and capitalist-owned. Here’s the other thing I have to ask: instead of unemployment benefits, why doesn’t the government actually find these people jobs? Something tells me those on top (the capitalist ruling elite) WANTS there to be some kind of unemployment so they’ll have an easier time replacing workers. Disgusting.

  2. I have never in my life seen a bunch of milly mouth whiney politicians who only outlook in life is to kiss Iran and Afghanistans ass. There are people in need of the money we’ve worked for. And the only thing they actually see is the color of the Presidents skin. And people are suffering. The Republican senate are traitors backstabbers and racist jackasses, they need to look at the voter. They gave Bush everything cart blanche bitched
    and whined and gave it to him anyway. The democrats are picking the bones the last administration left behind and its not Obamas fought. Evidently the Republican traitors don’t want to be elected next voting poll season.
    Regardless, I’m going to watch all of them fall because of the childish tempy tampies and their backstabbing bs’sery. Damn the deficit they all created it. They sure as hell can keep on priming the lizard. Screw the rich there only paying Chinas’ money back Bush borrowed anyway. Get yourself you milly yahoo’s. You created this mess now it’s time you listened and start being more loyal to your constituants. Gods holding the He’s about to cut all you mothers a new hole. How much does Bush owe China again. Give us our money when it comes to our employment cash. And stop send it overseas. You can’t keep kissing their behinds to much longer. Look what happened to Rome.

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