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Senate Republican filibuster cuts off Federal Extended Unemployment Insurance

Democrats refuse to use reconciliation process
By Masao Suzuki |
June 25, 2010
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San José, CA - On June 24, Republican Senators, along with Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson blocked a vote on extending Federal Unemployment Insurance benefits. After the 57-41 vote to end debate (60 votes are needed in the Senate to stop arguing and start voting), Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada pronounced the measure dead.

More than a half a million jobless workers who were receiving unemployment insurance benefits under the Federal Extended Benefits program have already been cut off, whether or not they received the up to 20 weeks of extended benefits promised under the law. Another 600,000 or more unemployed receiving Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) have also had their checks cut off. Another 200,000 jobless will lose their EUC benefits each week when they complete the ‘tier’ of benefits (there are four tiers to the EUC, providing additional 20, 14, 13, and 6 weeks of benefits). By the end of November a total of more than five million people will be cut off, or more than half of everyone who was collecting unemployment benefits.

This will leave only 26 weeks, or half a year, of state unemployment benefits, at a time when almost half of all unemployed have been out of work for more than six months. Many state unemployment benefit funds have already run out of money, and are continuing to make payments with loans from the Federal government. There is no way that states can extend their unemployment benefit programs. To make matters worse, the unemployment benefits bill killed by the Senate Republicans also had moneys to aid states with their rising health care costs, forcing states to cut education and health care programs and/or raise taxes.

While almost all the Democrats voted for extending the unemployment benefits, they have refused to use the ‘reconciliation’ rule that would allow them to end debate by a simple majority vote and then pass the extension. The reconciliation rule was designed to pass budget-related bills. The Democrats used the reconciliation rule to pass their health care reform in the spring, while Republicans used this rule to help pass tax cuts for the rich under the Bush administration. 

This is a problem for working people. The Republicans are outspoken in support of big business and are willing to push hard on tax cuts to benefit the rich. The Democrats claim to be for working people, but they get their money from the same corporations as the Republicans. The Democrats only want to do enough to get our votes at election time and are not willing to go to the mat on matters like unemployment insurance (health care reform was another matter, with big health insurance and drug companies benefiting from government subsidies). Unfortunately, the whole electoral system is rigged in the interests of corporations and the rich. Working people have to organize ourselves and raise a storm of protest that can force the Senate to pass an extension to unemployment insurance benefits that will last as long as the unemployment rate stays high.


Jeff wrote 5 years 10 weeks ago

I can't believe what the

I can't believe what the Republicans are doing. It shocks me that they can do something like this. I don't understand how the whole nation is not completely outraged at this decision. It blows me away how they have decieved their whole party. It is so obviously heartless. It is so oppresive. I dont understand how every american with any sense or any heart is not in complete awe at the game they are playing. They are playing the cruel game of polotics at the expense of the wellbeing of our nation and the expense of the people of this nation. These people should never have power over anyone or anything.
The political system of the Democrats and Republicans should be eliminated.They have proven they do not care for the well being of the nation nor its people. How can a political group who has power to help 2 million people who have lost thier jobs use thier power two put thier political boot right on thier head.Instead of helping struggling hard working americans who have lost thier jobs they have taken their power and chose to shove us into a jobless america without any assistance. SHAME ON SUCH ACTIONS. Anyone who sides with these thugs are no different than those who were decieved by the Nazi propaganda. I urge people to leave these Political devils. Demopcrats and Republicans. Is it not obvious your party only cares about its own views.They do not care about the nation nor do they care about you. Look at thier actions not their flowery words and ear cattching theories of how this country should be ran. Stay angry america. We need this anger. We need rage. We need to have the fire. We need to be like the old civil rights movement. We should show our rage at this politica injustice.

Anonymous wrote 5 years 29 weeks ago

unemployment extensions

We the people should be in the street in front of the white house to protest this nonsense! The politicians are getting paid as servants of the people and they are telling us to eat cake.Unemployment is not welfare,espessially when are taxes are being used to fight a useless war.This gov't is paying the taiiban millions of dollars in cash money just to allow supply roads to remain open for american troops yet we are supposed to be at war with the same taliban.Yet we the people can not get a dime.Stop the B.S.-end the war and bring our troops and money home!

Greg wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

Unemployment Extensions

Concerning last month's Republican blockage of jobless claim extensions. I have been a Republican for 30 years; I have also been unemployed for more than 26 weeks. I do not support my Party's decision to stop the claims for people who have been unemployed for less than 99 weeks. Why are we spending billions on two wars we can't win, or considering tax cuts for rich people making over $250000. a year? My area is still suffering from 18% unemployment. I hope this matter can be resolved soon:

“Americans should not fall victim to Republican obstruction at a time of great economic challenge for our nation's families,"

Anonymous wrote 5 years 31 weeks ago

this is all bs

I have been looking for a job for over a year just had a baby who is two months old how am I supposed to provide for my children if I have no gas or funds to go look for a job my phone is gong to be shut off cause I can't pay bill so there go the interview opp the senate is nothing but a bunch of greedy selfish aholes who want to sit around and count there money well I got news for ya came nov I hope all you sons of bitches are out of a job.and what's obama doing about this thought he supposed to be are savior not looking so good america we would of had a better chance if a nobody was running this country. The only thing that's going to help us is if the senate goes into the working class for a week and can see how hard it is for us but that will never happen so once again the working man gets the screws put to him thanks for nothing fuckers!

Eddie Davis wrote 5 years 31 weeks ago

UI Benefits

Who ever wrote that comment. Please understand, some of us are not milking the system. I am a disabled veteran diagnosed with several mental disorders as well as physical handicaps. When the economy failed, I lost my job. I served my country for 13 years and was medically discharged. I have applied for over 560 jobs with no response. When a person does everything right, no criminal activities, yet is made to suffer due to the the mistakes of our elected leaders and Wall Street, I feel it only honest to pay benefits just to keep families afloat. Many of us do not like the need of depending on state and federal assistance, but with a family of 4, and having served my country for over 13 years, and suffered and was be medically discharged due to service to my country, it is only fair. Granted there are VA benefits allowed, the process of obtaining benefits from the VA can take years. My mother and father are dead, we have no one else to depend on. When people like you make statements like that, it is apparrant that your heart is in need of reviving. I am sure you are not a evil person. Maybe you have been blessed with financial stability, and that good, but please do not be-little the people that are struggling. We are not only loosing our homes, but our family have no food to eat. The food banks are broke, no apartments to move in because of loss of income, absolutely nothing avaliable at all. Granted there are some that take advantage of the situation, but there are also our elected leaders that take advantage of other people's misery. I will pray for you to continue your success and hope that you never suffer difficult times. But please consider the ones that have done no wrong, yet is having to suffer because of someone elses mistake. God Bless You.

mary wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

Unemployment extension

I was on a website last week that told Bunting was going to vote no and his phone number 202-224-4343. I called the number and of course Bunting wasn't there. The young man who answered the phone told me that Bunting was voting no because there is no money. I asked how the Iraq (war) was being funded, I had him there. I told him we, the unemployed are the backbone of the United States and it was wrong to turn their b acks on us. He told me if I had more than 26 weeks of unemployment I was living off of a hand-out. He gave me a web address for finding a job, it was a joke, most of those wanted someone with a bs or ba or ma. ALL I CAN SAY IS WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER BECAUSE YOU ARE BYE BYE!!!!

Paul Horowitz wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

After being continuously

After being continuously employed in excess of forty years during which I was always able to provide for myself and others I was laid off. Now it looks like it is time to go bankrupt and to loose my house to foreclosure. It is difficult to afford to feed my family and to put gas in the car. After the golden umbrella bail out of the people and corporations that caused the stock market fiasco it is an out and out betrayal that Joe and Josephine Public are allowed to languish and suffer in imposed poverty. I used to be highly doubtful of those who claimed that the new World Order had an agenda to globalize poverty. However, our law makers are making a believer out of me. I've been working since I was a child and I believe in working but where are the jobs that were integral to what we once called "the American Dream'' which the younger people never even heard of. The dream that if you worked hard and saved that you and your family could enjoy a reasonably decent life style. This dream has been systematically destroyed and it is undermining the very middle class that has been a point of pride and a great strength to this country historically. The Dream also provided for upward mobility so that people could enter the middle class and even transcend it. The activities of those who endorse not extending unemployment benefits, including law makers, are acting in a very not American Way. America was built on the American Dream and they are turning it into the American Nightmare. Who or what do they really serve? This is not every one of them but it is too many or over one million people, who represent a much larger amount of suffering because many of their families are now deprived, would and should have had their checks already. This is not money for free. With every paycheck I and others put into the system and when we need it, and we really need it, expectations are that the money should be there.
God bless America!

Anonymous wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

Now let's make the Republicans unemployed

Since the Republicans don't wish to extend benefits to those of us who are unemployed because of their incompetence then when they are up for re-election they shouldn't be voted back in. Then they will see what unemployed is. Although they get great benefits. Maybe camping out in their yards so they can feed and house us would open their eyes.

Gary Krupa wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

It's "Let them eat cake" all over again

We of the working class need to organize and demand better treatment from our elected leaders. No one will do it for us, least of all the Republicans in Congress. They are selfish, insensitive cowards.

A national strike is the answer. Paralyzing the system is what our leaders are most afraid of. A strike will bring them to their knees! All we need is the will and determination to act!

If we're going to starve and be homeless, isn't it better to at least go down fighting? Are you just going to sit home, cower in fear and watch television? Or are you going to do something about this, with at least the hope of winning justice and financial freedom for yourself?

The French peasants and working class didn't sit at home while their government was letting them starve. The Indian people, as poor as they were, didn't let the British continue to bully them and brutalize them. They fought back! The Indians had a great leader, though, in Mahatma Gandhi. We don't have leaders of that caliber who can be elected President. Instead, we have the Federal Reserve, the greedy corporations and industrialists, and the Religious Right.

For too long, we've abdicated our power to them and now it's time to take it back! Bombard your Senator and Congressman or Congresswoman with letters, phone calls and e-mail! Call your neighbors and leave messages on their answering machines over and over! Hand out leaflets to them! DO NOT BE POLITE ABOUT THIS! MAKE A FEDERAL CASE OUT OF IT. YOUR SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT!

And once our movement gathers momentum, you'll see the great leaders come forward.

The following is a letter I just wrote in protest of the denial of Unemployment Insurance benefits. Revise it as you see fit, but use it to make your voice heard! This is supposed to be the land of the FREE, and the home of the BRAVE!

To the representative or Senator who voted against extending unemployment benefits:

I've been unemployed for over six months despite repeated and futile efforts to find employment or clientele. Without the hope of receiving continued unemployment benefits, the prospects for my wife and me are dismal. We’ll have to exhaust our savings to pay for basic necessities. For us it'll become a depression. We'll be at each others' throats before long. It'll be the same for millions of other Americans who have relied on the UI benefits.

Congress and President Obama approved billions, perhaps trillions of dollars to bail out General Motors and the banks. I don't see how doing that has done much to help our economy. It appears that most of the money went to enriching those companies and their owners. Yet, you refuse to approve continued unemployment benefits that would help more people and would have a more beneficial effect on the economy.

What are you thinking by eliminating extended UI benefits? Is this about letting us eat cake? Do we common people have to start a revolution in this country to be able to have even a modest standard of living and maintain our self-respect? I used to think that this was a compassionate country.

rocco furaro wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

homegrown terror

What we are witnessing is our governments definition of terrorism.
those who deliberately set out to strike fear into the heart of citizens by
destroying their livelihood, life and ability to lead a healthy normal existence.

The victims are not 2.5 million, add in the children and extended families and i guess your
collateral numbers are into the 10's of millions....

What we are witnessing folks is the biggest single act of terrorism in our country's history
on American soil... a homegrown sleeper cell...... the united states congress...

They have managed to do what no terrorist has been able to in ten years.. bring down the
American people by the millions.

Yes folks the biggest act of terrorism in U.S. history... and then go on holiday to celebrate their victory...

Cut and paste this everywhere ..... put them on the axis of evil, the no fly list, and the most wanted...

Anonymous wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

Feeling the Same Pain

I got laid off last August after 18 years in the workforce. It's the first time in my life I'd been laid off or fired. I have a professional degree and license. I have a diverse skill set within my industry. There are NO jobs in my profession. In 10 months, I've followed the newspaper, and a host of other job posting sites. I've seen maybe 4 jobs and applied for them all. I have tried to get any job I can, even those not related to my degree but nobody will hire me because I'm over qualified. Now employers are only looking for people who currently have a job. Or they are looking for recent grads who will work 16 hours a day for half the salary. I have a family of 4 and Cobra will be running out soon. Unemployment benefits are almost gone and I cannot believe that the emergency act was not extended. What can I do to make my voice heard?
I am in Texas and I want to make sure those with influence in the halls of our government understand my displeasure. Any suggestions on the most effective way to convey this, would be appreciated.

Anonymous wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

organize. Make the voice heard

Its sad how the repulicians turned down.

I was laid off when i worked in CA. I found a job in CO. From last one year I and my wife are leaving away from each other. I hope things pick up soon in CA and i would go back.

find job elsewhere, relocate and come back after this mess is over. We cannot rely on goverment to bail the poor out

Anonymous wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

Unemployment Extension

My job was sent off to India after 20 years with my company. I am unable to find work and no longer have any unemployment benefit as of this week since this extension was not approved. I can no longer afford COBRA so I now have no health insurance for me and my family and I am too young to retire as my pension won't kick in as yet. I would say that after 25 years in the marketplace, several degrees and darn good skill set it would seem that I should have no problem in finding a job. Wrong. The dozens of resumes I have sent out are as cold as a cold day in the north pole. I DON'T want extended unemployment. I want a job. I want to go to work

Anonymous wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

vote them all out!!!

I might be unemployed but by God I can still vote-karma is a bit%ch!

bilbo wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

extended benefits

It is just a slap in the face. If we were from a poor third world country, we would be of importance in their eyes. But I guess they feel that American's down on their luck are unimportant and that we brought this upon ourselves. But NO NO NO it was government who brought the economy down, but it will be the people who endure. Please remember in November, it was not just the Republicans that did this but our President (who I voted for) has forgotten us too. We have been buried under bailouts for the rich and banks. We have been buried under a healthcare bill that I cannot even afford to buy, (unless they take food stamps). And now BP. I guess the "Will work for Food" sign needs to be made. Then i'd get hauled to jail for loitering.

Connie wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

unemployment extision

I can't belive they will not pass the extended unemployement benfits. people need this I just lost my job of 13 and half years . these people will loose everything , and they want us to vote for them well I wont there will be so many ppl on the street . and children, guess just as long as you have money you dont care

Anonymous wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

Extended Unelpoyment benefit








Anonymous wrote 5 years 32 weeks ago

No one should get paid not to

No one should get paid not to work! The economy sux. Deal with it!