The Senate voted 64-34 today to proceed with five-month extension for unemployment benefits, which new data from the Department of Labor shows would help nearly 2.8 million Americans.
The bipartisan, paid-for bill is expected to gain final passage next week. So naturally, the Republican-led House will purposely let the bill grow mold while they take another Obamacare repeal vote.
“There is no doubting the enormity of the impact that an extension of this program will have on so many Americans looking for work,” said Sander Levin (D-MI), the Ranking Ways and Means Committee Member. “I’m glad to see the Senate take a strong bipartisan first step toward renewing this vital lifeline for 2.8 million job-seekers and their families.”
The Ways and Means Committee Democrats explained that the agreement would actually help more than the 2.8 million folks estimated because it doesn’t count family members who will benefit indirectly, “The estimates include anyone eligible for retroactive or prospective benefits because of the extension of the EUC program under the legislation. It does not count the millions of family members, including children of job-seekers, who will indirectly benefit through an extension.
The Department of Labor estimates* show how many people in each state would receive help due to the Senate agreement.
Number of Job Seekers Benefiting Under Bipartisan Senate UI Bill
Number of Claimants Potentially Eligible for EUC During the First 5 Months of CY 2014 Including Claimants Cut off of EUC Due to the 12/28/2013 Expiration of the Program
District of Columbia 9,100
North Carolina –
North Dakota 5,500
New Hampshire 3,800
New Jersey 144,300
New Mexico 14,100
New York 228,700
Puerto Rico 41,100
Rhode Island 12,000
South Carolina 29,100
South Dakota 900
Virgin Islands 2,300
West Virginia 14,100
National Total 2,795,300
This is great, after Republicans tossed 2 million people off of unemployment last December, providing Christmas Scrooge style. The Senate is doing their job. They’ve reached a bipartisan agreement to help the people and boost the economy. Unfortunately, the Republican-led House is where good ideas go to die, so this bipartisan agreement has little hope of passage in the lower chamber.
Just yesterday, Republican Senators slammed Speaker Boehner for blocking the Senate agreement. Meanwhile Boehner just keeps dancing faster with new and more absurd reasons why he and his caucus couldn’t possibly do the right thing.
What is worth thinking about, though, is if the Senate becomes Republican-led, this will be the last of this sort of agreement. If the Republicans take the Senate in the midterms, it will be run much like the House. The Ted Cruz “wacko birds” will run the asylum, shutting down government on a whim, racking up more fake repeal Obamacare votes for their campaigns, and only passing legislation when it restricts women’s rights. Birth control coverage will be a thing of the past – don’t even pass go on that one. The beleaguered Republican Senators who take their jobs seriously will be outnumbered and relegated to the sidelines.
This is a poignant bipartisan working government moment worth appreciating, as it might be one of the last for a long time if Republicans manage to fool enough voters with their endless dark money.
* – Estimates are based on the FY 2014 President’s Budget economic Assumptions.
– Includes the estimated number of claimants cut off EUC following the week ending 12/28/2014.
– Includes actual regular UI exhaustee data available as of 3/19/2014.
– EUC Claimant estimates represent the maximum potential number of the claimants that would have at some point been potentially eligible for at least 1 week of EUC during the first three weeks of CY 2014.