News / Economy

Washington Week: Focus on US Unemployed

Washington Week: Focus on US Unemployedi
X
January 05, 2014 10:28 PM
The U.S. Congress gets back to work this week after a holiday break. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, whether to restore jobless benefits for more than one million long-term unemployed Americans will be among the first items considered in the Democratic-led Senate.
Michael Bowman
 The U.S. Congress gets back to work this week after a holiday break. Whether to restore jobless benefits for more than one million long-term unemployed Americans will be among the first items considered in the Democratic-led Senate.
 
Americans who have been jobless for more than 26 weeks got their last unemployment check a week ago.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled an initial vote late Monday on a bill to renew compensation for the long-term unemployed by three months.  The bill needs bipartisan support to advance.
 
“The politics of this are pretty strong. The people who are unemployed for long periods of time are Democrats, and they are Republicans,” said Reid.
 
The effort has the backing of President Barack Obama.
 
“We do not abandon our fellow Americans when times get tough. We keep the faith with them until they start a new job. If folks cannot pay their bills or buy the basics, like food and clothes, local businesses take a hit and hire fewer workers,” said Obama.
 
Even if the bill passes the Senate, a vote in the Republican-led House of Representatives is far from assured. Many Republican lawmakers worry about the fiscal impact of another extension of benefits - and the impact on job seekers themselves. Senator Rand Paul is among those opposed to prolonged benefits.

“I think it's wrong to borrow money from China or simply to print up money for it. But I'm not against having unemployment insurance. I do think, though, that the longer you have it, that it provides some disincentive to work,” said Paul.
 
Democrats see economic benefits if jobless benefits are extended, and political benefits in waging the battle, whether they succeed or not.
 
Thomas Mann, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, says Republicans are in a tough spot in this battle.
 
“I think that will be a very, very contentious issue, but it is one where the politics really argue for Republicans finding a way to pass that. It is very unpopular to deny people some support during this difficult time,"  said Mann.
 
Republicans, meanwhile, hope to keep the public’s attention focused on the initial problems surrounding President Obama’s signature health care law.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.