News / USA

    Washington Week: Focus on Jobless Benefits, US Intelligence

    Washington Week: Focus on Jobless Benefits, US Intelligencei
    X
    January 12, 2014 8:13 PM
    Whether to restart jobless checks for America’s long-term unemployed will remain the focus of Senate debate this week. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, benefits for more than a million people expired in December, coinciding with a dramatic slowing of U.S. job creation.
    Michael Bowman
    Whether to restart jobless checks for America’s long-term unemployed will remain the focus of Senate debate this week. Benefits for more than a million people expired in December, coinciding with a dramatic slowing of U.S. job creation.
     
    Unemployment stands at 6.7 percent with more than a million people no longer receiving unemployment compensation.
     
    Protracted aid for the unemployed is counter-productive, according to Republican Senator John Cornyn.
     
    “We need to help people not maintain their dependency on a government program in perpetuity, but to liberate them from that dependency, to help them regain their self-respect and sense of dignity by finding work and providing for themselves and their families,” said Cornyn.
     
    But jobs remain scarce and many Americans still need assistance, said Democratic Senator Edward Markey.
     
    “People who are offered a job will take a job. The jobs are not there. It is not the fault of these families. It is not the fault of these job-seekers. We should not be punishing them,” said Markey.
     
    Democrats initially proposed an emergency three-month extension of jobless benefits. Republicans demanded federal spending cuts to off-set the costs.  Republican Senator Jeff Sessions said benefits cannot be extended on borrowed funds.
     
    “The unemployment bill before us today makes no attempt whatsoever to find spending reductions in other areas of this monstrosity of a government, but borrows every penny of it,” said Sessions.
     
    Senate Democrats responded with a plan that does not increase the deficit, but extends jobless benefits for nearly a year. Republicans sought to amend the bill, and complained when majority Democrats blocked them. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called for greater compromise.
     
    “If Democrats truly want to get anything done this year, they are going to have to learn how to work with us,” said McConnell.
     
    Democratic Senator Jack Reed says Republicans are wasting precious time while Americans suffer economic hardship.
     
    “Every week, 70,000 more lose their support.  We are going to see this number grow and grow and grow while we talk and talk and talk,” said Reed.
     
    The bill needs the backing of at least five Republicans to advance to a final vote.  Late last week, Majority Leader Harry Reid promised debate on some amendments, but accused Republicans of a double-standard on jobless benefits.
     
    “[Former Republican] President [George W.] Bush extended emergency unemployment benefits five times. Not one of these five times was there a whimper from my Republican colleagues that it should be paid for,” said Reid.
     
    The bill would need to pass the Senate and the Republican-led House to become law.
     
    Also this week, President Barack Obama is expected to address recommendations for reforming U.S. surveillance programs exposed by fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora