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 Politics Archive 2014

President Obama urges Congress to extend the unemployment benefits
by Nathan’ette Burdine: January 31, 2014

President Obama is urging Congress to extend the unemployment benefits.  In his January 4, 2014, weekly address, President Obama said, “Just a few days after Christmas, more than one million of our fellow Americans lost a vital economic lifeline-the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job.

Republicans in congress went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire.  And for many of their constituents who are unemployed through no fault of their own, that decision will leave them with no income at all. 

So when Congress comes back to work this week, their first order of business should be making this right.”

On December 28, 2013, 1.3 million people lost their unemployment benefits after Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) excluded funding in the Ryan-Murray budget for the program.

David Gregory, host of  “Meet the Press,” asked Senator Patty Murray why she did not include funding for the extension of the unemployment benefits.

Murray responded that their goal was to have certainty and no one gets everything that he wants during negotiations.

Chris Wallace, host of  “Fox News Sunday,” asked Ryan a similar question. And Ryan answered that the best way to provide certainty for business owners was by removing Americans off of long term unemployment and ending their dependence on the federal government.

The unemployment benefits are part of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program that former President George W. Bush signed into law in June 2008.

President Obama extended the unemployment benefits after signing into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

Before the unemployment benefits were set to end in 2013, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) co-sponsored a bill that gives a three month extension of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unemployed at no fault of their own.

Senator Reed stated in a December 18, 2013, press release that the bill provides a “sensible and bipartisan” solution for families who continue to struggle financially.

Senator Heller also issued a statement in which he said that a basic function of the federal government is to “provide a safety net” for those going through tough times.

He also highlighted Nevada’s high unemployment rate and how a continuation of the unemployment benefits will help his state.

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