Jobless benefits expire for 800K at midnight

Posted Nov. 30, 2010 at 6:15 a.m.

A Democrat-sponsored bill to extend unemployment benefits by one year was introduced in the Senate Monday, but it is likely to face stiff opposition from Republicans. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Max Baucus, D-Mont., said in a statement that the proposed legislation would reauthorize benefits for nearly 800,000 out-of-work Americans who are about to exhaust their benefits next week.

It would also extend benefits for 2 million more Americans facing the same fate at the end of the year, he said.

“Unemployment benefits are the only lifeline many workers in Montana and across the nation have left in this tough economy,“ said Baucus. “These benefits help millions of Americans put food on the table and roofs over their heads — pumping money into our economy and helping to create jobs.“

However, the bill could face heavy resistance from Republican lawmakers, who gained significant ground in the Senate following the midterm elections earlier this month. Lawmakers officially returned for a lame-duck session Monday.

At issue is the potential cost of extending the benefits, which amounted to a total of $319 billion over the past three years.

Baucus did not specify how much the bill would cost, and calls to his office were not immediately returned.

Earlier this month, the House failed to pass a bill that would have given the unemployed three more months to file for extended jobless benefits.

The $12.5 billion bill would have extended the deadline to file for federal unemployment benefits to Feb. 28, sparing 4 million people from falling off the rolls. The deadline is currently Nov. 30.

Federal jobless payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

Congress has extended the deadline to file those applications four times in the past year. The last jobless benefits extension — which lasted six months and cost $34 billion — faced a lot of opposition on deficit-conscious Capitol Hill before it finally passed in mid-July.

Roughly 14.8 million Americans are unemployed, with about 6.2 million of them out of work for at least 27 weeks. About 8.5 million people are collecting unemployment insurance.

As the nation’s lackluster economic recovery grinds on, a growing number of the jobless are exhausting their benefits. Precise numbers are hard to come by, but estimates show that about 3.5 million people have fallen off the rolls, though some of them have landed work.

Read more about the topics in this post: , , , ,


  1. ropundlaketom Nov. 30, 2010 at 7:47 a.m.

    If we can’t afford to pay for it now then we do not need it.Sorry about that the good of the nation comes first!

  2. cricket999 Nov. 30, 2010 at 8:00 a.m.

    broke ?
    hungry ?
    homeless ?

    just sit quietly till the end.

    It’s good for America Incorporated

  3. Bluecrane Nov. 30, 2010 at 8:30 a.m.

    Ah, but we can support mindless wars; we can support countless border agents that devote all their time to preventing people that would build our economy from entering the concentration camp of the free; we can continue to spend five times as much on defense as the second largest spending nation on earth . . . . . . and to think that I used to be a Republican. How embarrassing.

  4. elmhurstmw Nov. 30, 2010 at 8:59 a.m.

    Our recently elected Sen. Mark Kirk says it would be wasteful to extend unemployment bennefits but says the Bush tax cuts should be extended permenantly, including for those who make millions a year. Unemployed will spend every last dime of those extended bennefits they would get which helps keep local businesses operating. The rich will just sock it away or contribute to another republican candidate. Keep voting against your best interest there America. The masses truely are *****!

  5. Jean SmilingCoyote Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:05 a.m.
  6. AdamWckPark Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:09 a.m.

    If you can’t find a job after 99 weeks of searching there is something seriously wrong, even in this economy. We definately need a safety net for those who are going through tough times. I might support extending past 99 days if the requirements were sufficiently stringent. That would mean mandatory job placement seminars, counseling, applications, etc, above and beyond what is already required for 0-99.

  7. 007 Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:14 a.m.

    Exactly, AdamWckPark. When I was unemployed earlier in this decade, UI was 26 weeks, period, end of discussion. No extensions, no nothing.

    Besides, until January, I believe the Dems are still the majority, no? How is it that a minority of mean old Republicans can stymie so much progress?

  8. therichgetricher Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.

    ropundlaketom Today at 7:47 a.m.
    If we can’t afford to pay for it now then we do not need it.Sorry about that the good of the nation comes first!

    Wrong Tom! We can’t afford NOT to. Do you really think extending jobless benefits will really provide any “good” for the nation??? If you really think keeping money out of the hands of people who will immediately spend it on necessities is for “the good of the nation” you’re beyond misinformed. Jobless benefits were never a bipartisian issue until recently. You know what the country can’t afford? Extending tax cuts for people who don’t need it. You know extending those cuts without paying for them is the same as spending money right? You do realize that right?

  9. Fed-Up Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.

    I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. I got into the trades at the age of 40. I worked 10 straight years never unemployed but have been for the last 2. Tried to get a job at the home improvement stores only to be told they wouldn’t hire me because if the union comes calling I’d leave. It amazes me that people think if you’ve been “Laid-Off” and after 99 weeks then you are lazy. Quit a few of my union friends are now driving a bus making way less money just to support their families. I guess it’s OK to bail out the banks and car manufacturers but no one else. The rich just keep getting rich and the poor are just that, poor. Can’t wait to see how the “Tea Party Republicans” are going to get everyone working again. Can’t wait to go back to a minimum wage job.

  10. nancy Nov. 30, 2010 at 10:11 a.m.

    It is a proven fact by the liberal colleges that many people will not go back to work until they no longer receive unemployment benefits. I own a business – no one pays me if I don’t work! I mean seriously, how long do these people think they are supposed to be paid unemployment? years and years????

    The Bush tax cuts? Oh please, it’s not for the people making millions! It’s for everyone and it just keeps the taxes the same – as a small business owner my taxes are put in my personal account – you want companies to hire? Don’t raise their taxes!

  11. Karl Nov. 30, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.

    Even though we have added over one million private sector jobs this year through October, we are still down over 7 million jobs versus 2007. We lost over three times as many jobs as in the early 1980’s recession–8.4 million vs. 2.7 million. Jobs are not waiting for people like they were in the late 1990’s. Every time we cut off unemployment benefits it hurts the recovery. We will continue to need these benefits until almost all the lost jobs are recovered.

    That said, what Congress should pass TODAY is a one or two month temporary extension. That will give Congress time to negotiate an overall bill of spending increases and tax cuts to maintain the recovery until more of the lost jobs are recovered.

  12. ugggh Nov. 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Do the Republicans have a plan for job creation? Didn’t think so.

    The funny thing about this is the Republicans are not serious about job creation. Their number one priority is tax cuts. Tax cuts don’t create jobs. What actually would create jobs is extending benefits. Why? Because unemployed people don’t save money. (More well to do would save money and don’t immediate spend it.) The unemployed are living check to check and pumping all of that money into the economy. This is stimulating the economy, more consumption equals more jobs. More people employed helps everything, including balancing the budget. Another thing the Republicans are not serious about.

    Republicans are not fiscal conservatives. They just want lower taxes, which in the long run is bad for economy. A weak dollar is NOT a good thing.

  13. ethan Nov. 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    A nice theory ugggh, but unfortunately totally unsustainable. Paying ourselves to “pump up” the economy is fools gold because a small portion of that money is returned.

    Despite your comments about the Republicans, the Democrats share the blame. I haven’t heard squat (from Congress) about what to do except to throw more money at the problem HOPING that it goes away. This includes Stimulus spending.

    The issue here is not whether the benefits will be extended, but how the benefits, if extended, will be paid for. The last time this bridge was crossed, Congress declared it to be an “emergency” measure, meaning that it was now free of the POTUS’ mandate that all non-emergency spending be deficit neutral. Or in other words, MORE borrowing from the Chinese. Unemployment has been high for some time and declaring a response to it as an “emergency” is bull.

    As a Republican, I believe the tax breaks (all of them) should expire (as designed to). A portion of that money can be used to extend the UIB until Congress can finally get off their repsective rear ends and do something positively pro-active.

  14. Keith Nov. 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    When has society met its obligation to help out the less fortunate? Unemployment insurance payments can’t go on forever. It’s a tough spot to be in if you are unemployed, but we have got to come to grips with the fact that the country does not have unlimited amounts of money. I don’t have a painless solution to offer for this problem. Probably because there is no painless solution. I think 99 weeks of unemployment insurance payments is more than generous. We all need to learn to live within our means, which means mortgages you can really afford, maybe you don;t get a new car every year. Cable TV, internet access, cell phones, etc are not necessities. Take responsibility for your own circumstances. Save up a little money to tide you over during tough times.

  15. RomanB Nov. 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Republicans want to give tax breaks to the rich and pay that by denying extended unemployment benefits to those who most likely lost their jobs by the very rich, who decided getting extra profits by laying off workers was a good business strategy. All the while, also demanding they get TARP and giving themselves bonuses, even while wrecking the companies they led and the economy. Top it off, they’ll blame everything on Democrats. Those well deserved bonuses are just oh so unfairly taxed.

  16. Mary Nov. 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    All you people who are so against extending the unemployment benefits:
    You have NO CLUE. Evidently, you have not been unemployed within the last two years. No, we do not need new programs to monitor the unemployed, or mandatory job placement seminars, or the like. These are wastes of time that detract from the job search. And Nancy, your “proven fact” is a bunch of crap and moreover is an insult to those of us who are working hard every day to find work.
    We need jobs. Period.
    Employers are sitting on their money and will not hire someone they see as overqualified for a position. And if they announce a job vacancy they are literally inundated with responses. There simply are not enough jobs open for all the people who are unemployed, which is why the unemployed need extended jobless benefits. Instead of making this a Democrat-Republican blame game, how about working together to find a solution?

  17. Hans Nov. 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Mary – Paying people not to work does nothing to create jobs, stimulate the economy or get people to recognize they may not have a job to go back to. Unemployed construction workers should not be sitting around for two years expecting to get hired in construction. They should have spent the two years learning to do something else. People looking for jobs that don’t exist are fooling no one but themselves.

    Those parroting the lib talking point that this stimulates the economy are nuts. If this is so good, then everyone should be on unemployment except that someone has to pay for it. It is not just the rich, although they pay the vast majority of taxes, but 50 percent of this country are paying to give people a two year free ride. To the clueless libs that complain about saving rather than spending money, it’s called personal responsibility, something you clearly don’t understand.

  18. Linda Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    The way we job hunt in this country has turned getting a job into a crap shoot. I know of an unemployed hospital accountant with 7 years experience who received notice from a local hospital accounting job he applied for that “he doesn’t have the experience they are looking for”. What in the world are they looking for? 7 years experience in the same exact job isn’t enough? I don’t get it!

  19. shawnda Dec. 1, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    For those who are against the unemployment extension, really do not have a clue. I lost my job in July 2009, the manufacturing plant I worked for moved to Mexico, I was making close to $20.00 an hour, I don’t have cable I am going to lose my net, and I have government cell phone with allotted 254 mins. I have two teenage sons, and my unemployment didn’t help as much as you think but it kept a roof over my head. I looked for a job for the first year and with nothing I decided to go to school and guess how I am able to do that with grant money from the government, so for you people saying that we need to do something other than the job we did before we lost our jobs through no fault of our own. Walk in our shoes before you throw out rude comments….Believe me I would rather work than go to school!!