Today's the Day: Long-Term Jobless Benefits Expire
More than 1M affected
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2013 6:35 AM CST
People wait in line at a jobs fair in Albany, NY.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

(Newser) – A political fight on Capitol Hill becomes very real today for about 1.3 million Americans: Their long-term unemployment benefits expire. In the latest budget deal, lawmakers didn't extend the 5-year-old federal emergency program that provides an average of $300 a month to people who have used up their standard 26 weeks, reports the Wall Street Journal. Expect it to be at the top of Congress' agenda in 2014, reports the Hill, with Democrats pressing to restore the benefits, perhaps retroactively. Doing so for the full year would cost about $25 billion.

Republicans and libertarians generally argue that the extension was necessary during the worst of the recession, but no more. "This is an emergency program," says a budget analyst with the Cato Institute think tank. "The emergency has long been over." The benefits "induce people to wait to start searching for a job, and that ends up kind of hurting them," he says. Democrats counter that the benefits not only provide vital cash to recipients—Nancy Pelosi called the failure to extend them "immoral" yesterday—but boosts the overall economy by helping people who would otherwise have no money to spend do so. Prospects for an extension are murky given the "constrained fiscal environment," reports the New York Times. One scenario is that Republicans agree to a 3-month extension if Democrats offset the money with cuts elsewhere.

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Showing 3 of 142 comments
Dec 30, 2013 6:26 PM CST
a very happy day in dead for BARACK INSANE OBAMA! and before you jump i did say dead! fubo! fubar!
Dec 29, 2013 6:29 PM CST
I wonder what is the dollar value of the years of education and experience lost when we force professionals into unskilled labor? I wonder how much people will lose in home values when their unemployed neighbor's homes are sold at foreclosure?
Dec 29, 2013 10:20 AM CST
LINE FROM BRUCE HORNSBY SONG "THE WAY IT IS"!! Standing in line marking time-- Waiting for the welfare dime 'Cause they can't buy a job The man in the silk suit hurries by As he catches the poor old ladies' eyes Just for fun he says "Get a job"!!! (ANY JOB CLEANING DISHES, MOPPING FLOORS, CLEANING TOILETS,JUST LIKE OUR FATHERS , MOTHERS. GREAT GRANDPARENTS, GREAT,GREAT GRANDPARENTS DID TO LIVE DAY BY DAY!! & THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS TODAY!!