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Sunday, October 23, 2016

By Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan agreement to restore unemployment insurance benefits for more than 2.2 million jobless Americans cleared a key Senate hurdle Thursday, but faces continued opposition from Republicans in the House, making final passage uncertain.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH), has called the Senate plan — which overcame a filibuster on a vote of 65-34 — “unworkable.” A group of state benefits administrators has argued that their outdated computers will make it difficult to process jobless claims and prevent fraud under the Senate plan.

The bipartisan group of senators, though, hopes to pressure the House to act in an election year. Lawmakers from high-unemployment states face constituents who need aid after benefits for the long-term unemployed were cut off late last year. 10 Republican senators voted to advance the bill.

The White House has also tried to isolate Boehner’s Republicans as the only barrier standing in the way of jobless aid. Labor Secretary Tom Perez made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week and has said the problems raised by the state administrators could be resolved.

The package would extend benefits retroactively, to Dec. 28, for five months, meaning the unemployed would face another cutoff at the end of May. The $9.6 billion cost would be paid for by imposing customs fees at the borders and other methods.

The bill also includes Republican-requested changes, including a ban on benefits for anyone making more than $1 million a year and workplace assessment programs for the long-term unemployed whose jobs may no longer be available.

The federal aid covers the long-term unemployed who have exhausted the typical six months of benefits provided by most states.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

  • Sand_Cat

    Of course it’s “unworkable”! Anything that wastes money on people who need it is definitely dead on arrival so long as the Boehnhead and his merciless band of hypocrites control the House.

    • CPAinNewYork

      Boehner would rather give the money to the Ukrainians.

  • Dominick Vila

    Interestingly, the same neo fiscal conservatives who oppose anything that would help unemployed Americans, the poor and the middle class, are the same ones who had no problems re-distributing one trillion dollars to companies like Halliburton, Blackwater USA, and Bechtel for reconstruction and security sole source contracts that were never completed.
    Obviously, their priorities are not exactly the same as those embraced by the overwhelming majority of Americans, and yet, half of our population continues to listen to and vote for these guys. Amazing!

    • CPAinNewYork

      It is “amazing”, but it’s the way those bastards think.

  • CPAinNewYork

    John Boehner is a piece of crap.

  • charles king

    People, Now is the time to use your VOTING power and let it be heard that You want action from these representives you put into Congress and the Senate and the White House. The VOTE is still Supreme and along with some Critical Thinking there is not any problem that can’t be solved. March on these people and make them do What? you send them there to do. MONIES has these (Greedy Capitalistic Pigs, Plutocracts, Republicans and Democracts and Etcs Do Nothinginers) that your Democracy is up for sell. Democracy is alive and well and the VOTE is still Superme let yourselves be heard, this is Your Country Not a bunch of (Commisssioners) Who? are these people and Why? and How? did they come to be especially in the State of Pennsylvania. I thought after all these years(84) that my Democracy was entact but Plutocracy has always been there in the background and I am just NOW becoming wise to What? is going on in America. Wake-Up People. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

  • Barbara Morgan

    I an not surprised and I am sure that no else is either at John Bohener’s anti American workers attitude. His words and actions shows he is following his orders from the Koch brother and his other rich donors(owner) and his wife. Don’t know if anyone on here saw his 2nd wife’s anti hate filled anti American workers last May 2013 press conference or not but she clearly showed her hate for American workers. I think she was trying to bring more workers from Japan to work for her and wasn’t being allowed to do so. She stood before a roomful of reporters calling American workers lazy, crybabies and worst and that she hated them. John Bohener was standing by side the whole time, couldn’t tell if he was smiling or grinning the whole time she spewing her venom right beside her and didn’t say a word. Bohener met her when she worked for the Bush administration. I don’t now if is she a first generation Japanese America or a naturalized American citizen from Japan. For a party that is suppose to be a family value party they sure do have a lot of males that in Congress that left their older wives to marry younger woman, know of one Representative that is on his 2nd wife and that had affairs with 8 other women when married to his first wife. Don’t sound like family values to me.