Are the 2010 Unemployment Insurance Extensions still possible? Some jobless Americans, who have reached Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 or the beginning of Tier 4 have been out of Unemployment Insurance Benefits for nearly 3 weeks now. Many new jobless Americans are being added to the mix of those without Unemployment Insurance Extensions. A reported 1.2 million will be without such benefits this week unless the United States Senate finally acts. That means no unemployment checks from here on out for those people. What seems to be a cruel joke is quickly becoming tragic to those people.
Here is a little background into what has happened so far. The House passed what was called a tax extenders bill in late May that would have provided the 2010 Unemployment Insurance Extensions to go forward until November or perhaps December. That meant all that needed to happen was Senate approval to get the bill passed and jobless Americans would have resumed receiving unemployment insurance until they had exhausted 99 weeks. Instead, the Senate first took a 10 day Holiday as expected before even weighing the issue in the correct forum. The Senate reconvened on June 2, 2010 with a chance to look at the item and quickly pass it for those who were going to run out of benefits that particular week.
What has happened since that point must be a blur to those who have been living without Unemployment Insurance for nearly 3 weeks. The bill has gone back and forth in the Senate like a Wimbledon tennis match. The Democrats would volley and the Republicans would return. Back and forth they went. And as they played a tennis match with the specifics of the bill—many more people were quickly being added to the total number who are being devastated by this complete lack of progress by the United States Senate. The bill, which was broad and included several items that not easily comprehended, was seemingly off just enough to fail in a preliminary vote.
So what happened with the Senate? The Democrats continued to push but even started to lose members of their own party. Democrats Harry Reid and Max Baucus were quickly losing votes they needed to have. Eventually the Senate did provide a medicare bill that was passed–but unfortunately did not include the 2010 Unemployment Insurance Extension.
That bill was sent back to the House where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi deemed it unacceptable. She called it “inadequate” because it did not address the broader jobs bill(which includes Unemployment Insurance Extensions). So back and forth we go. A third tennis player has landed another serve and now it is back in the hands of the Senate. That’s where we stand right now on the 2010 Unemployment Benefits Extension. Will we eventually receive unemployment checks once again? The jury is still out but the Senate seems to be working on a solution. Baucus said last night that he and Harry Reid felt they were “close” to securing the 60 votes out of 100 needed to pass the bill along. Then, and only then, it can be passed back to the House where it can finally be put into action with a vote of yes. So it appears when time is of the essence, getting unemployment checks will require patience from the same Americans who have been waiting for as long as 3 total weeks. 21 days without payments is awful in any economy-let alone this one. We are talking about people losing houses and cars and not being able to put food on the table. These are people who were already suffering and trying to sustain their livelihood off 200-400 dollars a month in unemployment checks.
Not only that but the issue has been up in the air for so long that so many jobless Americans are completely perplexed about what to do. The sad comments come in on my stories one by one. I do read each and every one and it only fuels my energy to continue writing in the battle against this crisis that has been mishandled for three weeks now by the United States Senate. It should have been a no-brainer. The people who have suffered for 3 weeks should have been able to have some form of help while the Senate takes an extremely long time to make a decision on whether or not they are going to hand out unemployment checks to the people who so desperately need it. It’s unfortunate this Unemployment Insurance isn’t really insurance at all. We, as United States citizens, have paid in collectively for years yet we aren’t able to have extended benefits during a horrible economic crisis. This emergency crisis should have been treated as such-not like some hand me down benefit that people should beg for. I find it extremely sad that we live in a country that is supposed to be the greatest on Earth-yet our elected officials act as if they are the only ones who belong on that pedestal. There are some who have made comments about “tough love” and accepting jobs for lower wages. Yet-those same people obviously have no comprehension what accepting a minimum wage job would do if a person has already committed to a certain price of house, car and other items. We are talking about major consequences on the total economy as a whole if the 1.2 million people are not allowed to have an income because of the lack of empathy from our United States Senators.
It’s horribly unjust and I thank the good Senators who are fighting to no avail to pass this legislation so that so many jobless Americans will receive the aid they need during this desperate situation. Desperate situations are supposed to require desperate measures. Apparently, some in our United States Senate have confused the meaning of desperate with something trivial.
I have created a blog to further address the issues surrounding the unemployment benefits extension. Please feel free to leave comments here or on my blog. I hope this in some way helps convince someone how dire the consequences are and will be without such an extension.