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Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.
Back in early April, the Senate extended emergency unemployment insurance from when it expired in late December through June 1—already a mostly retroactive extension. June 1 is nearly here, and the House still hasn't acted on the bill, though millions of Americans jobless for six months or more are now without aid. What is the way forward, if any? The prospects are bleak, according to some of the Republicans who voted for the Senate's bipartisan bill in April:
“I’m worried,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “Because with each passing day, it’s going to become more difficult to reinstate the program. And in the meantime, we’re going to start seeing another wave of individuals who will lose their benefits.” [...]

“I’m not quite sure what the Senate has energy for,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) with an audible sigh of frustration. “Honestly, on our side nobody’s talking about [unemployment benefits] right now.”

Most, though not all, House Republicans are opposed to aid for long-term jobless people, and though voters want to see it passed, there obviously hasn't been enough pressure to make Speaker John Boehner give in and allow a vote. Boehner claims he's waiting for the Senate to pass some of the alleged jobs bills the House has passed, but since those bills are mostly about giveaways to business rather than job creation, they wouldn't exactly help matters.  

If an unemployment insurance extension is well and truly dead—and it seems quite possible that it is—first and foremost that's a tragedy for millions of Americans who will risk eviction or foreclosure as they search frantically for jobs that just aren't there for 60 percent of them. This is on the list of pure Republican callousness and indifference to suffering in the bad economy their policies helped create. But if congressional Republicans have any interest in proving that they care about jobs, here's one idea for them: America has tens of thousands of bridges badly in need of repair or replacement. Doing that would create a lot of jobs as well as making us all safer on the road. How about if congressional Republicans show they're serious about jobs by backing President Obama's plan to fix our bridges?

But the House should still vote on unemployment aid—and if Boehner won't allow that, may he lie awake at night realizing what a truly horrible excuse for a human being he really is. Sign and send a petition to your member of Congress: Restore unemployment benefits now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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