Divided Senate To Vote On Extending Unemployment Benefits

Sgt. Troy Barry (right), with the Army National guard, speaks with Katie Sogar with Rivers Casino during a job fair for veterans in September. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sgt. Troy Barry (right), with the Army National guard, speaks with Katie Sogar with Rivers Casino during a job fair for veterans in September. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Senate is poised to take a key procedural vote on whether to move forward with an extension of federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million jobless Americans, with Democrats hoping to overcome a strong partisan divide on the issue.

Although Tuesday’s vote is procedural, it will indicate whether there’s enough Republican support to move the Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which expired on Dec. 28, forward to a full vote. As The Associated Press writes, the measure “is the leading edge of a Democratic program that also includes raising the minimum wage and closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and corporations.”

As NPR’s Craig Windham reports, “GOP lawmakers say they oppose the bill because it does not include offsets-spending cuts to pay the cost” of the extension.

However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), says the extensions have been considered emergency measures in the past and have always passed without offsets.

The vote was originally scheduled for Monday evening, but it was abruptly delayed because, as Politico reports, supporters did not have the votes they needed.

On Monday, Politico wrote:

“Democrats need five Republicans to join them to advance the legislation … So far, there are just two Republicans publicly committed to supporting the legislation as written: [Maine Sen. Susan] Collins and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who co-sponsored the measure with [Rhode Island Democrat] Sen. Jack Reed.”

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is among those who has vowed to vote against the extension, saying the bill “is being jammed through.”

“Spending $6.5 billion in three months without trying to find ways to pay for it or improve the underlying policy is irresponsible and takes us in the wrong direction,” he said, according to the AP.

Federal unemployment benefits were signed into law in 2008 by President George W. Bush to provide an average of $300 a week to jobless Americans for an additional 28 weeks after state their benefits expired. It was meant as a stop-gap measure during recession, which saw the worst unemployment in decades. As the length and depth of the recession dragged on, the measure was extended more than ten times.

Reuters says:

“The Democrat-led Senate plans to escalate the fight in coming weeks by bringing up for a vote a bill to increase the federal minimum wage, which has stood at $7.25 an hour since July 2009. Democrats want the minimum wage to rise over three years to $10.10 and then be indexed to inflation in the future.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.image
Read original article – Published January 07, 2014 8:13 AM
Divided Senate To Vote On Extending Unemployment Benefits

Recent headlines

  • Arctic Chinook exercise concludes

    Coast Guard wraps up Arctic exercises

    The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
  • Bacteria that causes botulism.

    Science and cooking collide to fight botulism

    Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
  • Earthquake Simulator

    Earthquake simulator will shake up Juneau

    Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
  • Dan DeBartolo is one of four candidates running for the Juneau School Board. (Courtesy of Dan DeBartolo)

    School board candidate juggles race and Facebook

    The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.


Playing Now: