News / Economy

Democrats Push to Restore Long-Term Unemployment Benefits

FILE - Richard Mattos, 59, looks for jobs at state-run employment center in Salem, Oregon.
FILE - Richard Mattos, 59, looks for jobs at state-run employment center in Salem, Oregon.
VOA News
Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration are organizing a political campaign to restore financial benefits to more than a million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months.

Modest unemployment benefits are customarily paid by U.S. states to people unemployed for up to 26 weeks. During difficult economic times, Washington may fund additional emergency benefits that continue for months longer.

While overall unemployment has fallen to 7 percent, nearly four out of 10 jobless people have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, a level Democrats call "unprecedented."

The emergency program started during the recession recently expired, cutting benefits that typically run about $300 a week for 1.3 million people.

Government economists say cutting this spending will cost another 200,000 people their jobs this year. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich says that is because cutting this spending cuts demand for goods, and that reduces the need for workers to create them.

"They are critical to the rest of the economy," he said. "Their livelihoods and their spending is important for the rest of the economy to get out of the gravitational pull of the great recession."

Reich is an economics professor who joined key Congressional Democrats in a briefing for journalists Friday in Washington.

Many Republicans are skeptical of the program, which would cost $20 billion or more. House Speaker John Boehner has said he wants the cost of extending this program to be made up by cutting expenses somewhere else in the budget. Senator Rand Paul argues that unemployment benefits are a dis-incentive to find work.

But former Labor Secretary Reich says the problem is a lack of jobs, not a lack of effort to find work.

Senate Democrats say they will hold a preliminary procedural vote on a plan to restore benefits on Monday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Tour Will Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

US secretary of state to visit 5 countries in the Middle East, South Asia in bid to strengthen economic and security ties, ease concerns over deal with Tehran More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sheila Poston from: Memphis
January 07, 2014 5:06 PM
I am disabled female American whom has recently been layed off due to lack of business. I need my unemployment benefits due to the fact that my medical problems which include, diabetes, hep c, and high blood pressure. Without this income I am unable to pay the co-pay to visit my doctors much less afford my prescriptions. You Republican senators need to come stay with me in my small apartment for just one week and see how the real Americans live. Be sure to bring a sleeping bag with you for warmth. We will eat ramen noodles three times a day. You force us to do without the slightest luxury while you rest in Ivory Towers and vacation in the Hammonds.

by: Ian from: USA
January 04, 2014 11:52 AM
"Many Republicans are skeptical of the program, which would cost $20 billion or more. House Speaker John Boehner has said he wants the cost of extending this program to be made up by cutting expenses somewhere else in the budget. Senator Rand Paul argues that unemployment benefits are a dis-incentive to find work."
Clearly some of us voted for & put these uncaring , un-americans congresspersons & senators into office ( the fact that they have cushioned jobs in DC makes them oblivious to the suffering of many Americans)
-Congress want to increase the age for retirement benefit. Ask yourself, which company will hide any person who is older than 60 year old. How do the old applicants prove discrimination ! (Unless the government demand the companies to send all applicants' data to a central audit bureau so a computer can sort out discrimination trend)
-In the best scenario that all the old peoples get jobs, then the young will have less openings available for them in a tight market .
-with interest set at 0.1% the old , the unemployed can not even rely on the interest to buy food. Imagine 100,000 of saving in the bank will get you 100 dollar interest to spend. How many American families even have 10,000 dollar to earn 10 bucks.
-how about take a 10% out of the 21 billions aid per years to various countries to feed our own peoples.

for example in 2010

-3 billions to Israel (3 billions for 8 million population first world country which could probably send aid to us )
-1.6 billions to Pakistan
-316 millions to Mexico (which hold 28 billions of us treasury bonds)
-255 millions to Egypt (which hold 15 billions of us treasury bonds)
-126 millions to India (which own 39 billions in us treasury bonds)
-100 millions to Palestine
-71 millions to Russia (which own 127 billions in us treasury bonds)
-28 millions to China (and this is the top of the cake, this country who hold 1 trillions of us treasury bonds, which could clearly send money to us)
-25 millions to Brazil
oh by the way , we spent 100 billions in non military aid in Afghans so far .
Make you wonder if congress still have America & Americans in their heart & mind

by: Anne Fletcher Price from: Rhode Island
January 04, 2014 9:40 AM
I am a 75 year old tax paying citizen who worked through the recession and paid into Social Security. I was laid off last year with no severance pay, no vacation pay no bonus or back pay. My livelihood was ripped from me without notice. I have marketable skills and have diligently searched for a job. To continue to search for a job I need a place to live, gas for my car and a job to continue car payments. Congress needs to extend benefits for as long as 26 weeks. The job market for seniors is very difficult. The alternative, the state where I reside will have to subsidize my livelihood for the rest of my life. And with inherited longevity of life, that could mean 20 years. Question: Which is more cost effective: to subsidize my livelihood for the next 20 years or extend unemployment benefits for another 26 weeks?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9066
JPY
USD
123.75
GBP
USD
0.6394
CAD
USD
1.2954
INR
USD
63.904

Rates may not be current.