Thursday, November 18, 2010

US House Republicans Block Unemployment Extension

Tax cuts for the rich? No problem. Don't even have to pay for them. $300 a week for millions of unemployed folks for a few months? So sorry, can't do. Ladies and gentlemen, a preview of your new United States House, already in action...

Republicans in the House have blocked a bill that would have extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed beyond the holiday season.

The most recent extension of jobless benefits expires Dec. 1. Two million people will lose benefits averaging $310 a week nationwide by the end of the year.

The measure would have extended jobless benefits through the end of February at a cost of adding $12.5 billion to the nation's debt. Republicans opposing the measure said that the measure should be paid for by cutting unspent money from last year's economic stimulus bill.

Roughly two million Americans will lose benefits before the end of the year. What does it mean for Michigan?

WWJ’s Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick says the numbers are staggering.

According to Norm Isotalo of Michigan’s Unemployment Office: In “September 2010, we estimate that 47,000 workers will exhaust their unemployment benefits. In October, it’s gonna be 48,900. In November: 46,700; December: 45,000. In January: 62,600.”

Around 250,000 through January, and I believe the number is somewhere near 400,000 by March. That's twice the size of the city of Grand Rapids, left with no income whatsoever.

Rep. Dingell delivers the smack-down in this release:

Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) today blasted House Republicans for blocking passage of H.R. 6419, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act.

“I was pleased to support my dear friends Chairman Levin and Congressman McDermott in cosponsoring this bill because the people of Michigan desperately need this extension in order to support themselves and their families while Michigan’s economy recovers. I am, however, very frustrated that Republicans in the House would block an extension of unemployment benefits. Without today’s extension 150,000-180,000 Michigan workers will be without unemployment benefits during the winter months. This is simply unacceptable.

“We have seen steady improvement in Michigan’s economy since passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – our unemployment has declined every month thus far in 2010, the manufacturing industry has witnessed job gains consistently since 2009, and Michigan continues to attract companies in new and promising industries like wind turbines and advanced battery manufacturing. However, many Michigan workers are still hurting and struggling to find employment. I find it just horrifying that Republicans would block aid for families desperately in need, especially near the holidays and the cold winter season.

Merry Christmas, signed, The Republicans.

Good luck America, you're going to need it.

UPDATE: From the Roll Call, we have MI Reps. Camp, Miller, Rogers, Upton, and Hoekstra all flipping the bird to their unemployed constituents. Ehlers and McCotter voted yes.