Washington DC – A deal was reached between Senate Democrats and Republicans, March 13, to restore benefits for the long-term unemployed. A group of 10 Senators - five Republicans and five Democrats - are sponsoring legislation to restore the cuts to emergency unemployment insurance. The accord would extend long-term unemployment benefits for five months and would be retroactive until the end of December 2013. A vote is expected soon.
An uphill fight is under way in the Republican-dominated House. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL), filed what is known as a discharge petition, March 12, which would force a vote on Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) if it signed by a majority of House members.
Both the Senate and the House must pass the measure before it goes to the White House.
Hope for extending long term unemployment benefits dimmed last December when Democrats in Congress did not insist on the inclusion of the unemployment extension in the budget deal.
To date more than 2 million workers have lost unemployment benefits and pressure is mounting on Congress to restore them.
The economic crisis that hit the U.S. and most of the capitalist world eight years ago left in its wake persistently high unemployment and lower wages.