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Friday, October 28, 2016

By Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill to extend unemployment insurance for more than 2 million jobless Americans is poised to clear the Senate next week, but House Speaker John A. Boehner is raising new concerns that it could be costly for states to administer and could lead to fraud.

Boehner’s objections echo warnings from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, which has repeatedly urged Congress not to attach cumbersome new eligibility requirements. States have “antiquated” computer systems that cannot quickly implement new rules, the group warned Wednesday, and may end up giving aid to those who are ineligible.

The potential problems “are cause for serious concern,” Boehner said, urging the Senate to shelve the legislation. “The bill is also simply unworkable.”

Ten senators broke a stalemate to reach the bipartisan accord on the jobless aid package — primarily by attaching Republican-led initiatives, such as prohibiting aid to millionaires. But the state workforce association, which represents state administrators responsible for implementing unemployment insurance, says the bill would be “very hard to administer.”

Under the deal, benefits would be provided to the long-term unemployed, retroactive to Dec. 28, 2013, when jobless aid was shut off. The five-month package would expire June 1, when aid would again be cut.

“Some states have indicated they might decide such changes are not feasible in the short time available,” Mark Henry, president of the association and executive director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, wrote in a letter to Senate leaders. The group sent a similar warning in January as Congress began debating the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the chamber would “quickly move” to a vote on the compromise when lawmakers return to Washington next week.

With the backing of five Republicans — mainly those from states with high unemployment rates — the measure is expected to have enough votes to overcome a GOP-backed filibuster.

Boehner has not said whether the House would consider the bill.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Unworkable = he cannot get 50% +1 votes from Republicans only needed to pass the bill, even though it would probably pass by a 70% margin!

  • jmprint

    Everybody need to bombard Boehners office with phone calls.

  • Dominick Vila

    Hopefully his constituents will wake up and realize what a terrible mistake they made, and make sure Mr. Bonehead is unemployed for the rest of his life…without benefits.

    • rzinny1

      The trouble is Boehner has enough money that he and all his decendents can live confortably for 10 generations without making a dime. He doesn’t need unemployment benefits. Even if inflations doubles each generation.

      • ThomasBonsell

        That would be true of most members of Congress, but it won’t prevent any of them from taking their lavish retirement benefits that kick in for five years on the job while those on Social Security must have 10 years for reduced benefits.

        • rzinny1

          Did you know that by Forbes magazine that ceos on the average make 250% more than ceos made 20 yrs ago. And people on social security, on the average, make only 23% more than they made 20 years ago.

      • iamproteus

        “He doesn’t need unemployment benefits.”
        So true! However, if he could ever figure out a way to qualify, he wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to file!

  • paulyz

    The real question is why the economy has been so terrible for almost 6 straight years even with Trillions spent? Also, why do we need Millions more foreign workers & “another” Amnesty with 25 MILLION Americans unemployed? Many long-term unemployed workers either cannot find a job or don’t try when they know the Federal Government will continue extending unemployment benefits indefinitely. After a certain period of time, unemployed Americans should be put into job-training instead of just collecting a check forever.

    • irishtap

      The economy isn’t “terrible” but, it is recovering too slow. Republicans have blocked all efforts by Democrats to stimulate growth. The very same programs that Paul Ryan and other Republicans emphatically endorsed and were passed with the help of Democrats, for the previous Whitehouse occupant – the entire GOP is now staunchly against. Such remedies have been commonly used in all prior recessions to prime the pump of commerce. They work and end up paying for themselves with increased tax revenues. It seems Republicans simply ‘do not want a vibrant economy’, as it goes against their meme of ‘austerity’. Unemployment insurance spending, goes directly into local economies, and actually aides to increase hiring at local businesses, this is now antithetical to GOP’s long range plans for greatly shrinking the middle class. Job training is certainly a necessary component of getting people the skills they need to compete for a good wage. But skills without market demand for the products that worker would be making, isn’t going to provide him a job. That’s why we need the government to ‘stimulate the economy’. No offense meant but, I don’t know where you found your spending figures, Obama has proved to be the lowest spender since Eisenhower.

    • Sand_Cat

      Because the jerks you support have done everything they possibly can to assure that the economy stays terrible, and idiots like you are too stupid to realize it when you’re getting hosed.

    • rzinny1

      IN the past job training never worked. By time there was enough people trained for the jobs, the jobs became obsolete and and became low paying jobs. Even with a college education, the job market is week. Most graduates with a bachelors get in the $30m -$60m per year. That not enough to pay student loans and support a
      family anymore. And also for one reason or another the average graduation rate is 25%. That means 75% can’t make that $30m anymore.

    • BillP

      As usual you offer no proof to back up your uninformed and nonsensical comments. I’m sure every unemployed worker want to live on $300 a week, why that equals 15,600 a year. Someone could live a life a luxury on that grand amount. I do notice that you,just write your typical bs them disappear, what a coward you are.

    • tlk

      Many people like you don’t understand that there are many unemployed who have worked in industries with specialized experience and cannot extend that experience into new training. Especially professionals who have worked in these industries for 20 or so years and do not have time left in their lives to learn a new trade? Then what, spend more time looking for work in the new trade and can’t get a job anyway?

  • Mark Forsyth

    What Boehner and his cronies are not saying is that the working class people must be kept down as it is the only way to maintain high corporate profits and the working class must not be allowed to get too powerful.Difficult to be very powerful when one is hungry,homeless,and unemployed.Notice the lack of jobs and sustainable wages!

  • dpaano

    Unfortunately, the way things are going now is unworkable!!!

    • iamproteus

      Boehner already addressed that complaint: he said you should refrain from confusing people with facts.

  • Sand_Cat

    They still can’t resist screwing the middle and working classes, and are still likely to be re-elected by them. The pundits claim the GOP will gain Senate seats. If they’re right, how stupid and ignorant are we as a nation? Not sure I really want to know.

  • Marilyn Ueeck

    He don’t need to worry about unemployment, he is well situated with the income he now gets and will keep getting when he is out.


    Everything the Republicans have done over the last generation makes perfect sense……if the goal is the creation of a permanent underclass in this country.

  • rzinny1

    Boehner’s plan for unemployment benifits is to do away with any benifits altogether. Or maybe the people who recieve them.

    • Allan Richardson

      If you keep too many people who want to work unemployed long enough, a substantial number of them will become entrepeneurs in criminal businesses, or commit crimes to make up for lost wages. The honest ones, and their children, will simply starve. And the GOP wants it that way, because dead people cannot vote against them.

      • rzinny1

        That was brutally cruel to say. But TRUE. A lot of simularities between the GOP (especially the Tea Party) and Nazism.

    • iamproteus

      It is not a matter of “or” but rather one of “and”.

  • pwrblnc

    I sure wish we could add Boehner to the unemployed.

  • iamproteus

    This bill will benefit millions who are desperate for help but is “unworkable” according to the House Clown. However, a House bill to “repeal and/or defund” ACA is is still viable and desirable after 50 (FIFTY!) unsuccessful attempts to pass it! Unworkable, indeed! Mr. Butthead, here’s a news flash for you: It is you and the remainder of the republican clowns who “unworkable”!

  • howa4x

    He is in no danger of loosing the house due to gerrymandering, so why stir up the base?