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Friday, March 22, 2019

The Republican minority in the Senate has narrowly defeated the Democratic majority’s third attempt to extend emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed.

The three-month extension would have been paid for by a budgetary maneuver known as “pension smoothing.” It also included an amendment that would bar anyone who had earned more than a million dollars the previous year from receiving emergency benefits.

Democrats fell just one vote shy of reaching the 60-vote threshold to approve the amendment from Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) flipped his vote for procedural reasons.

Nearly 1.7 million Americans have lost their only income since benefits were cut off in December. Nearly 3 million more Americans will lose their benefits this year unless Congress passes an extension.

Republicans helped George W. Bush pass emergency unemployment benefits five times during his presidency, including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program defeated today, which began in 2008 at the start of the financial crisis. Congress has never cut off benefits when the long-term unemployment rate has been this high, approximately 2.6 percent.

“I’m beginning to believe there is nothing that will get Republicans to yes,” Reid said. “It’s a ‘no’ vote because they don’t want to extend unemployment insurance.”

Some Republicans called the “pension smoothing” a gimmick, which it is. Members of the House GOP have offered it as a way to pay for restoring cost-of-living increases cut from military pensions in the budget deal earlier this year.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to Reid’s proposed amendment process for the bill, as he had when Democrats proposed a one-year extension of emergency unemployment benefits paid for by a one-year extension of the sequester earlier this year.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dean Heller (R-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) were the only Republicans who voted to move the bill forward.

“All we need is one more Republican vote,” Reid said. He vowed to bring the measure up again.

Help for the long-term unemployed is sure to be an issue in the 2014 elections. If that wasn’t clear enough to Senator McConnell, his likely Democratic opponent tweeted a reminder Thursday morning.


AFP Photo/Jewel Samad

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78 responses to “Senate GOP Denies Help To The Long-Term Unemployed — Again”

  1. mickschix says:


    • daniel bostdorf says:

      In Machiavellian politics it is not in the best interest for Obama to do this…

      The Democrats want the GOP/Teaparty House and Senate to own this defeat of beneits….

      It helps the DNC and Democrats defeat those in the 2014 elections..

      I wouldn’t issue an executive order…if it meant defeating these facists once and for all..

      Problem is that the DNC and PACS are not fighting back….

      DNC and Obama will rally the base that got him reelected twice….that base is those in poverty, unemployed, immigrants etc…

      Fired up…and ready to go!….

      • mickschix says:

        You really think that when it comes down to life and death issues like children starving etc…that Obama would sacrifice PEOPLE for the Nov elections…and what about the Tea Party and right wing they not fear losing their jobs? And Nov is A LONG WAY OFF in election terms….

        • daniel bostdorf says:

          unfortunately yes—short term pain for long term gain….it is politics….it is business….it isnt personal…

          and November is very close…

          obama’s executive order hand is tied…except for the safe raising of federal contractors min wage to $10.10… that is a political decision….not the right thing to do…it should be far far more if you even believe in a minimum wage which I don’t….I believe in a guaranteed annual wage…tied to full employment jobs….won’t discuss that issue here…

          I hate ALL OF THIS too very much….but the GOP/Teaparty started this and Obama has to make them own it….

          • mickschix says:

            I’m not sure I buy that! If Obama wants to gain Democratic seats in NOV, now is tihe time he could be the HERO, save the d ay and come OCT. say ” if not for ME, you would have never reclaimed your benefits”…better to be a hero than to kill off the very folks who elected you.

          • daniel bostdorf says:

            It simply is not in the interests of the party politically….they need the GOP to be held responsible for denying benefits…

            if Obama acts now, why could he have not issued the order before it was denied by GOP?

            Again…this is a political business decision to frame 2014 elections: they need the GOP to be held responsible for denying benefits…

            I empathize with all of this…..but the GOP/Teaparty is to blame for the past 5 years of obstruction….

            Let us agree to disagree on this….

          • mickschix says:

            I understand what you’re saying but wouldn’t it look BETTER for Obama to be the HERO NOW and then he would not only retain all of those millions hung out to dry on this unemployment issue, PLUS he’d gain independents because he’d done the right thing…not to mention that by not continuning these benefits, millions are not SPENDING ANYTHING! And I think voters’ memories are VERY SHORT, and for me, NOV. is FAR AWAY!

          • mickschix says:

            Obama just called for a Yes/No vote on this….what are the ramifications of this?

      • Sand_Cat says:

        Much as I despise the GOP, this is not something on which I’d support an executive order. Come to think of it, not many executive orders I would support.

        • daniel bostdorf says:


          • Mark Forsyth says:

            Frankly Dan,I’m surprised at your response.Just what type of circumstance would you require before you would support the use of Executive Order if not those that have millions of increasingly hungry and desperate people who are unemployed? We have all the crumbling infrastructure we can handle.How about a new C.C.C. or something akin to it.The benefit to the people and the country would be enormous and all that’s really needed is someone who has a pair to issue the order to get the gears turning

          • Allan Richardson says:

            It is not a question of whether the President politically WANTS to issue an executive order; it is a matter of fact that he does not have the POWER to do it. And likewise for a CCC plan; Republicans in Congress would rather have STARVATION IN THE STREETS than let Obama, or any Democrat, take credit for helping the country.

          • jmprint says:

            SOOOOOOOOO true

          • Mark Forsyth says:

            If they don’t watch their asses it will become necessary to shoot them.Might as well reduce the surplus population of selfish bastards and do it quickly.

    • Barbara Morgan says:

      Don’t think the President can use an executive order to extend unemployment benefits. That can only be done by Congress. A Congress that contains Republican and Tea party members of haters. They hate 99% of the citizens of this Country and are only representing the interest of 1% of the Country. That 1% includes a great many of them.

      • mickschix says:

        Why did Obama announce that he’d USE THE PEN AND THE PHONE to override Congress when necessary then? He said right out that he would do what had to be done! ( I am quite sure he was referring to the unemployment bill)

        • bhaggen says:

          Obama has said a LOT of things……….PERIOD!

        • Dominick Vila says:

          Executive Orders can be used for many things, but not on issues that require appropriation of funds. That is the sole responsibility of Congress.

        • Allan Richardson says:

          He was referring to things that are within the legal and Constitutional power of the Presidency. One of them is requiring government contractors to adhere to the minimum wage that Congress refuses to pass, $10.10 per hour (which is STILL poverty level, but better than $7.25; or $2.13, no that is not a typo, if your job is one in which you EXPECT to get tips — even if your boss illegally keeps them or assigns you to non-tip duties). It will not force THIS Congress to act, but it will increase the market rates.

          Unfortunately, the unemployment insurance can ONLY be extended by Congress. The only way to get it passed is for enough voters to QUIT BEING STUPID and vote their true pocketbook interest despite the right wing talking points (i.e. LIES) and put a new Democratic Congress in place next year, by VOTING THIS FALL, even if it takes extra effort to jump through state Republican hoops to do so.

          And also unfortunately, that solution requires another year to implement, UNLESS the current members of Congress are MORE frightened of being replaced by a Democrat than they are of being replaced by a WORSE Republican scoundrel in their party primaries.

  2. MrGGCutty says:

    These GOP idiots have no clue what long term unemployment is all about. I have 3 degrees and I have never not been employed until a few years ago. I look for work every day now but have been out of work for almost a year. My UI extension benefits have been the only thing that keeps the lights on and allows me to continue my relentless search for a job. Thanks a lot bozos!

    • Dominick Vila says:

      Most Republicans in Congress share the same opinion so eloquently voiced by Mitt Romney when he was running for President last year. In their opinion, victims of the Great Recession that began in 2007 are not out of work because they can’t find a job, but because they are bums. We have not lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs since Nixon re-established diplomatic and trade relations with China in the 70s because because Americans are lazy, but as a result of foreign competition, investment in foreign countries, automation, the transition from a manufacturing model to a service oriented economy, or a skill mix deficit. Unfortunately, the solution is going to take years to take effect. The top priority is to improve our education system and re-train the unemployed so that they qualify for the vacancies that are currently being filled by thousands of foreign professionals entering the country with H1b visas. We must also accept the fact that the large manufacturing plants that helped millions of Americans become members of the middle class are not coming back.

    • Duckbudder says:

      Same boat. 53 and fucked.

    • edamami says:

      You’re in good company. I never in my entire life dreamed this would happen to me. In addition to everything else, I am 59 years old and am, unfortunately, becoming more and more familiar with the face of age discrimination. It ain’t pretty.

  3. Robert Roberto says:

    I told my cousin it’s official you have to look for work since the Republicans won by one vote. Those damn Republicans are the last words I heard from him as I walked off.

    • DurdyDawg says:

      One vote, eh? Yeah, and had it been the other way around.. the pubs would filibuster for a re-count through a super majority.

      As far as your cousin, I’m sure he’ll find no job just as he couldn’t while on unemployment.. Wankers like you actually believe those on welfare, disability and unemployment are living the high life on those wages.. Some can barely keep up with food and utilities but being ‘moochers’ as they are, they should live on less so that your tax dollars can go further to insure your safety from potential terrorists and those dreaded illegals..

    • daniel bostdorf says:

      “thank you for your point of view”

  4. a80a says:

    nothing for the working class from the Republician party, never has been never will be. all the people I know would gladly take just about any kind of job to keep from taking unemployment benefits. there just are not that many jobs available right now. so no benefits then it is well fare and food stamps to exist, and that program has been reduced I would guess that there will be more robbing and stealing than ever before if it takes that for a man to feed his family. the $200 dollar shoes and $500 suits in Washington could care less. but you can remind them at election time, don’t just vote for the party ask questions and get answers about who you vote for find if they really care about you , make some of them unemployed.

    • Avril111 says:

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    • Dominick Vila says:

      The worst part is that they had no problem extending unemployment insurance five times when George W. Bush was in office. The reason for their refusal to do the same now is because a Democratic President is in office and Dems control the Senate. They are sacrificing the well being of thousands of Americans because of a vendetta. Their behavior characterizes the lack of patriotism and morals of the party that likes to call itself “the party of personal responsibility”, which does not include humanity, compassion, concern for the plight of mainstream Americans, or basic moral principles.
      Interestingly, they have no problem fighting against raising the tax rates for those who earn over $250K a year, to prevent the elimination of loopholes and subsidies that benefit the top 1% of earners, and to preserve policies that help those who already own 2/3 of our national wealth accumulate more wealth.
      What is really sad, is that most of these scum bags will be re-elected by the very people they are exploiting and abusing.

      • JSquercia says:

        But you have LOVE the way they turned on their own IMAGINE no unemployment for you IF you made a million in the previous year
        My GOD THINK of the savings THAT will provide

    • Robert Roberto says:

      Most of them aren’t poor, so it’ll be a retirement for them. So, vote them out.

  5. 1standlastword says:

    The human engineered financial crisis forced many older workers and unskilled laborers out of the job market. Now with the labor market tight and corporation advertising the “long term unemployed NEED NOT APPLY we have 1.7 million people who likely have a snowball’ chance in HELL of finding another job.

    The PUGS know this and the DEMS are trying to gain political points to protect their vulnerable hold on the senate and lust for the majority in congress.

    The truth is both parties promoted policies that got us to this horrible condition for main street.

    Poorly regulated financial markets
    Flawed economic theories
    Broken tax and biased tax policies
    Rampant fraud, waste and abuse in all areas of government
    Lack of accountability resulting in the breakdown of rule of law
    Rewarding selfishness with CEO bonuses to reinforce economic destructive policies
    Insider trading at the government level

    The list goes on and on

    • Allan Richardson says:

      The Dems actually want to solve this, but in order to do so, they must get enough Pugs REPLACED. And only the VOTERS who put them in office can do that. And unless we ALL GET TO WORK, even voters who are suffering BECAUSE of the Pugs will vote FOR THEM because they believe the LIES from their Taliban churches, the Koch brothers, and Faux Nooz.

  6. daniel bostdorf says:

    Pathetic is it not?….victimizing the victims of those decimated by the 2007 financial collapse that simply can’t get their “bail out” as Wall Street and the millionaires did…

    Gop/Teaparty folks just created the best 2014 DNC ad for the 2014 elections.

    • 1standlastword says:

      Believe it or not I’m hearing that the republicans have a good chance of winning the senate….?????

      We seem live in a political world today where up is down, left is right, and day is night.

      • daniel bostdorf says:

        Possible—but…lets look at this a bit further 🙂

        The unfortunate reality is that the Koch brothers and the extreme dark money, Karl Rove with his PACs, and a public dumbed down by propaganda, have a shot at it…

        Democrats are defending 21 seats, seven in states that President Barack Obama lost in 2012.

        The GOP and its financiers are taking a cue from the Democrats.

        Columnist Jay Newton-Small summarizes here:

        “In 2006 and again in 2008, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, under the stewardship of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, expanded the Democratic playing field into red and purple states through savvy candidate recruitment. Democrats scored surprising wins in states like Missouri and Montana. Schumer’s freshman class of 2008 is now up for reelection, while Democrats in Alaska, North Carolina and Minnesota must defend their seats.”

        Scary huh?

        The GOP has financed extremely solid candidates in Michigan and Virginia….and if this isn’t enough… Scott Brown is going to plunge into the race as evidence by his claiming New Hampshire as his official residence now Senate Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen will face an onslaught of Koch brothers and Rove propaganda…and will face a tough challenge in New Hampshire.

        HOWEVER—here may be a “monkey wrench”……

        Republicans are also defending two vulnerable seats: Georgia and Kentucky. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s race in Kentucky.

        PLUS—the FAILED Rove Teaparty fiasco in 2012 has created significant challenges that hobbled GOP recruitment in the last two cycles.

        The absolute key to the Democrats taking over the Senate is money. which they have.

        It is also dependent on the DNC getting its base mobilized for getting out the vote of the VERY SAME base that got Obama a 2nd term..

        I predict a skeer for the Democrates in teh Senate races….the miracle would be that at the same time of getting the base out….it may be possible to take back the House..

        Eternal optimus am i not? 🙂

        • 1standlastword says:

          I think it is too potentially dangerous to be too party loyal!!

          (Reid and some democrats are split over new trade agreements on Obama’ desk that are worse than those Clinton signed that shifted jobs offshore and we stood forewarned by a republican businessman whose only role was to provide comic relief)

          Let’s face it…we have a bad situation right now that is the creation of a permanent political class of both parties that purchase greater and greater security for themselves and less and less security for the real engines of the country–the working and middle classes

          Sure, while there are important philosophical differences between the two parties we know that both parties use the lives of “real” people like a political football to be kick over the goal posts so they can continue to win the game.

          Case in point: If you have a student loan you can’t service because of REAL economic hardship thank both republicans and democrats

          • daniel bostdorf says:

            Then…The oligarchy an its plutocracy are only interested in maintaining power and global domination at all costs…what are the options in your opinion…?? How does defeating unemployment benefits play in too?

          • 1standlastword says:

            Are only options are to vote or not or to rebel or not.

            We’ve witnessed in the last decade a most remarkable erosion of our civilian authority over elected officials.

            Activism and money have diluted the democratic processes most profoundly.

            I’ve come to conclude that politicians are very (more so than any other profession) corruptible (some more than others) and that there are very few real heroes of the people (the smartest most ethical don’t want the job).

            The only things we can hope for are better enforcement of the rule of law, a more responsible media and greater transparency as “sunlight is the best disinfectant.

            So far as emergency unemployment goes, the cynical “missed by one vote” scenario proves to me a profoundly calloused nature of individuals which seems to be a developing trend most particular of the modern republican party.

            Republicans are not getting emergency benefits either and they should wake up and realize party loyalty to this modern republican scourge is dangerous for their health!!!

            Case in point: Consider the recent industrial accidents in the southern.

            I can imagine a Chernoble event happening in the south within the next decade

    • Mark Forsyth says:

      We all must dedicate ourselves to making those bastards as miserable as possible.They have studied the attitudes of Mr.Potter for too long.

      • mickschix says:

        Oh, that is my MISSION…Obama just called for a Yes or No vote on the unemployment extensions….what will that do to help the cause?

        • daniel bostdorf says:

          You asked this at the bottom of this article….It won’t help the cause at any level….Obama wants to just reinforce the view that the GOP will not budge and that they own the denial of benefits…they will still vote down…

        • Mark Forsyth says:

          I don’t expect it to do much more than what Daniel has described.Obama has proved to be quite adept at taking half measures that avail us nothing.He deals with much the same circumstances as FDR but sadly,he is not much like him.Perhaps as a black man he fears meeting the same ending as JFK.

          • mickschix says:

            Still, I want to know exactly what his limitations are in terms of executive orders..and it must be restated…if he had not been blocked every step of the way by repukes who simply want to destroy him, and to HELL with the country, this would be whole different country today. We’d have a jobs bill, some immigration reform ( YOU HEARD BOEHNER-Oh what I’d love to do to that subhuman!) Boehner came right out and said NO WAY to ANY immigration bill. Time t o move to England.

          • Mark Forsyth says:

            The in depth info you seek is on-line.Having read it a good while ago I’m inclined to think the Prez has got a good deal more flexibility than he uses but somehow continues in the mistaken belief that he can work with gop/t bastards.Unfortunately,he seems willing to put social programs for those he should be defending,on the table as a negotiating tool.The result is a pig in a poke at best.
            I live less than two miles from the Canadian border which is much closer than England,care to join me?

          • mickschix says:

            My French is not great, Mark! LOL! I called a few of the Republicans who voted NO on the unemployment extensions and one little kid who answered the phone caught a blast in his ear from me…but we ended up in a real chat. He said they WOULD end up with a deal and his Senator was working on his end of it today…a list of reforms he’d like to introduce….we’ll see. I explained that REPUBLICANS are also out of work and are a part of these millions who were cut off at the knees. They are harming themselves by trying to take down Obama.

          • Mark Forsyth says:

            This issue has been going on for a long time micks.They have proved repeatedly that they don’t give a damn about their own constituency to the point one wonders if they think that everyone they are hurting is an ultra liberal democrat.I think the main problem is the perversion of too much money in politics and its corrupting influence.Sadly there are elected Democrats in name only individuals who share the same mindset and also sell out those who put them in office.I’m not sure what the answer is but I AM convinced that a repeal of and amendment to Citizens United would go a long way towards protecting the voice and vote of the people.
            I’ve been to several places in Canada,mostly in Ontario which is just across the way,but also to Montreal as well.Quebec has areas where French is dominant of course but the language barrier is not as severe as you might think.The invitation stands.

          • Allan Richardson says:

            They are partly right. Eventually, everyone they are hurting WILL BE a liberal Democrat. I am concerned that this will not happen SOON enough to save us.

          • Mark Forsyth says:

            Add propaganda to a willfully ignorant segment of the population who are also woefully undereducated and the operative word is SLOW.It then becomes enticing to intentionally harm them in an effort to enlighten them.

      • Allan Richardson says:

        For the benefit of the younger generation, I assume you are referring to the evil banker Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life” rather than the heroic young wizard Harry Potter?

  7. DurdyDawg says:

    Bottom line is, it’s an on-going war and for now the political nit-wits are winning all the battles (against helping unemployed.. the poor.. women, minorities, illegals).. all this is making them giddy and they actually believe they will win both house and senate come 2014 thus the presidency in 2016.. Well, that’s when the war actually begins and as has been since the beginning of wars, the righteous will win this war in the end.. The battles have hurt almost every American but the final victory will put those haters of America’s workers, poor and disabled in their place. I had just read an article concerning the wealthy vs the poor in Louisiana, a must read ( It’s really getting bad my friends.

    • daniel bostdorf says:

      Agreed—-and like your posts at alternet too!!

    • Allan Richardson says:

      It is funny, but it’s offensive to actual clowns. They act silly to amuse people, and (except in horror movies) would never try to hurt anyone.

      The Republicans in Congress (and the states) are, come to think of it, more like a convention of the “creepy clowns” in a horror movie. It IS a horror movie, and they are casting the rest of us as victims of their serial killings.

  8. Peter Flynn says:

    united states too gutless too spineless too yellow too cowardly to imprison corporate criminals and their congress puppets for life ; a very jellybacked nation scared of suited criminals

    • 1standlastword says:

      Right Peter

      The corporate gangsters and permanent political class make the laws that suit their purposes

      They practice a form of legal corruption and violate main street and cover it up by blaming the victims and each other.

      Our government has a credibility problem because it is constantly trying to solve the problems it creates.

      That has been the state of affairs for a long time.

      The debt, the deficit the whole enchilada belongs to a government that chronically fails to protect citizens from the worst among themselves

  9. stella says:

    I have a degree from the US. I have
    4 children; one graduated 3 years ago and still lives with me because he still
    has the job he had when he started Northern Illinois University 8 years ago. My
    second child was attending a junior college and decided to drop out and take a
    full time job as a caregiver for seniors. My 3rd child is attending IIT and
    will graduate this May, no internship so far even though he has double
    major–Mechanical Eng/Aero Space. The 4th child is attending I have a
    bachelor’s UIC, undecided on a major. I was laid off from my job as a site
    director of a preschool in the Uptown area of Chicago due to low enrollment. My
    husband died of a stroke 7 years ago due to the stress of not finding the right
    job even though he had a masters in computer Science and bachelors in
    industrial engineering. This is frustrating!!! I would have supported the non
    renewal of unemployment a few years ago because I used to think people are just
    lazy and don’t want to work. Now with my situation I have realized a lot of things
    and appreciate the unemployment insurance I received until January 3rd of this
    year after only 6 months. I have applied to over 1000 jobs on line. I even took
    a caregiver position going to seniors houses for 3- 12 hours to places as far
    as Desplaines for $10 and hour. Even with this job, I couldn’t get a full time
    position. Please extend unemployment insurance. I have resorted to asking my
    family to send me money from Africa. This is terrible!!

  10. disqus_ivSI3ByGmh says:

    For all States suffering from high long-term unemployment. Please remember, these are YOUR Senators that are keeping you from getting help. Why? Because if they pass an extension of this help, it could make the President look good.

  11. a80a says:

    Dominick Vila your statement is very well is very well written and a very true statement.

  12. George says:

    so why did Reid turn his vote and make it fail??

    • Allan Richardson says:

      The news item said “for procedural reasons.” There is probably some arcane rule that if the one vote margin does not include the majority leader, it cannot be brought up for another vote. It was already failing by one vote; failing by two votes made no real difference, except I would suppose allowing a retry sooner.

  13. Guest says:

    I’m amazed these guys keep getting elected I cant for the life of me understand why they do.. However I have to hope things change and people have finally seen the light those jerks could care less about anyone other then their selfish self’s… I’ve noticed people vote their party just because its what they have always done, Its shocking and no matter what they suffer and some even realize that indeed its the Conservative party that has put them there yet loyalty to oneself should be first and foremost not to some party…

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