Are Americans being held hostage by the GOP once again?
For over 1.3 million Americans unemployment benefits ended on December 28, 2013 when their federal extension expired. Many people were left unprepared since they expected their extension to pay the time remaining previously determined. Here is a quote from a constituent of Republican New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte:
“I am one of over a million Americans who are unemployed, and through no fault of my own since the company I worked for eliminated our entire division. I had been given benefits that extend into February and was not aware that December 28, 2013 marked the end of unemployment extension benefits already awarded. As a result I am without the income needed to pay my bills that include medicine, food and household up keep. All this I have been doing with half the pay I used to make. I hope Congress delivers aid soon before we lose everything.”
Senate Bill S.1845 has been offered since December 17, 2013, however the reason it has not moved forward and given relief to those who deserve unemployment extension benefits varies greatly depending upon who you ask.
Republican Senator McConnell had this to say:
“What really happened over the last week is the refusal to have an open amendment process, the refusal to treat both sides the same. The final proposal we objected to yesterday requiring all the amendments to get 60 votes but final passage only 51 still does not restore the Senate to the way it has formerly functioned. Any Member of the Senate ought to be able to have a fair chance to get his or her amendment adopted. That is the way it used to be around here before the majority leader decided to dictate everything everyone does.”
Senator Durbin had this to share:
“I ended up getting an email from a lady. For 34 years she had worked for the same company. She must be a pretty good employee, right? But now the company has laid her off and she can’t find work. Another person had 9 years with the same company and lost his job. When he applies for a job, they look at his resume and say: Wait. You are way overqualified for this job. If we gave you this job, you would leave the first chance you get to get a better job. So there he sits, unable to find a job. He is trying, but he can’t.
So these people are asking us: Can you help us keep our families together while we go through this tough period? And I think we should. So we want to call this bill to the floor of the Senate and pass it and extend unemployment benefits for 3 months. I would like to see it for 1 year, but even for 3 months we should extend these unemployment benefits so folks in this circumstance can get a helping hand. The Republicans come in and say: No. We object to that. You cannot extend unemployment benefits unless you pay for them. Well, that is new. Five times under President Bush they voted for their President’s extension of unemployment benefits and didn’t pay for it. Now they insist we pay for it. I don’t like that. I think this is an emergency expenditure. But we live in a divided Congress, Democrats and Republicans. We have to find some common ground. So we came up with a pay-for. We came up with a way to pay for the benefits for this unemployment.
Then they said: No. We are still going to filibuster. We are still going to stop it unless you allow us to offer amendments. We have some ideas we want to bring to the floor and get them to a vote. Yesterday, the majority leader came to the floor and said: OK. We will give you amendments, up to 10 amendments on each side, to this unemployment issue. You pick the amendments. We are not going to pick them. They said: No. We still object.”
Here is a link you can rely on to be impartial: