The 2010 unemployment extension bill has been stalled in the Senate due to a filibuster that is supported by Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. Brown, who came out of nowhere during the Senate election was there for the regular working people in the State of Massachusetts. What has changed?
Scott Brown did promise to cut spending and start this country on a realistic spending freeze. Stalling the 2010 unemployment extension bill should not be one of them. The unemployed workers are not the ones that should be targeted for a spending freeze. These people are losing their homes and cannot find the money to put food on the table.
Almost 1 million people have lost their unemployment benefits because this unemployment extension was not passed, according to the Boston Globe. 30,000 of them are from the State of Massachusetts, where Senator Brown was considered the man to stand behind the average American worker. Unnecessary spending does need to be stopped, but this extension bill means food on the table for the unemployed and their families. This is not unnecessary spending.
Nation wide, unemployment is just under 10 percent this hasn’t been experienced by this country since post-World War II highs. 15 million Americans are still out of work, including more than 300,000 in Massachusetts. For many, this unemployment extension can make the difference from keeping or losing their home.
Payments of 26 weeks, which is the average length of an unemployment benefit claim, was given extra weeks from the federal stimulus package of 2009 and subsequent bills had provided. Massachusetts unemployed workers could get 99 weeks of benefits.
The unemployed are in a crisis mode today with no help in sight as long as the Senate cannot agree on passing this bill. Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry said in the Boston Globe today: “Now when working people need help, vital relief is being delayed. Bottom line is, any plan to cut funding will hurt the most vulnerable people across our state.”
Governor Patrick of Massachusetts has his administration directing workers who are out of benefits until the unemployment extension is passed to other social service programs, including: food stamps; emergency cash assistance for families with children, the elderly, and disabled; and aid for veterans. This is money coming from the government, anyway you look at it. If the Senate would just pass the unemployment extension, people can at least stave off the foreclosures and pay their bills as they continue their job hunts.
References: The Boston Globe