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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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Comment Preferences

  •  They're evil & they don't care & that's why (9+ / 0-)

    they're elected by voters they select.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:15:03 AM PDT

  •  Eliminate the Game Playing (6+ / 0-)

    Eliminate the game playing in the House and Senate and make them vote on everything.

    This is one of those where both sides are guilty, and both sides do it.

    Boehner is doing it by holding these votes hostage in the House, and Reid does it in the Senate.

    If both sides were made to vote on everything without all the game playing to protect themselves from difficult votes our democracy would be all the better for it.

    If you are embarrassed enough about a position that you don't want to vote on it because of how it will make you look then maybe you should be re-evaluating your position.

    Instead we refuse to hold important votes to protect members from uncomfortable votes, as if putting members positions on the record has ever been a bad thing.

  •  Too late...consumed with....BENGHAZEEEE!!! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, AnnieR, deh, Jon Sitzman, JJ Zucal
  •  Nope............................ (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, Jon Sitzman, Aquarius40

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:41:40 AM PDT

  •  Stupy politicians. Those they screw and ignore (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, Jon Sitzman

    are busy making torches and pitchforks.

    Many times I’ve returned. Never was I the same in any of my guises. I feel inside, my times before, with no memories of each journey. My soul’s shadows haunt all the paths it has traveled.

    by Wendys Wink on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:43:23 AM PDT

  •  Why should the "we've got ours crowd" care, (7+ / 0-)

    especially if they are in safe R districts.  I would love to see the American people hand them their pink slips so they know what it's like, but that's not going to happen.  It sure would be something Ds could run on if they had the guts.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:43:30 AM PDT

  •  Is any hope left for extending unemployment aid? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deh, Jon Sitzman, JJ Zucal, Aquarius40

    The short answer would be NO.

    The long answer would be Benghazi.

  •  Watch ! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuelleC, Jon Sitzman, bananapouch1

    I expect them to temporarily extend unemployment benefits in exchange for a permanent Corporate tax cut that will cost us trillions.

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:44:32 AM PDT

  •  How many of the long term unemployed, many (7+ / 0-)

    of whom are over 50 and veterans, voted for GOP candidates because they were repeatedly suckered in on the issues of gays, guns and abortion?  This is the trade-off these voters made.  It's unfortunate that others and their children will have to suffer the consequences.  American exceptionalism, indeed.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:49:58 AM PDT

  •  And of course the Republicans... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, deh, Jon Sitzman

    won't be able to connect the dots on this and the GDP growth for the first quarter...

    Fox News, The triumph of stupidity over reason.

    by laughingriver on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:51:44 AM PDT

    •  Link? (0+ / 0-)

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Mon May 19, 2014 at 10:41:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Is there any hope....?" SURE there is! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, Jon Sitzman

    In about 7 months, after a democratic majority in both houses is sworn in next January... IF that happens.

    The only thing that will make that happen is when people stop voting against their own interests.

  •  Of course not, and it's wasted time to try. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Sitzman, Aquarius40

    Except, of course, to demonstrate that Republicans won't do it, because they're sociopaths.  But it is and always was silly to imagine they'd actually do it.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:07:19 AM PDT

  •  Maybe Next Year (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Sitzman, Aquarius40

    That assumes that the Voters get off their collective Asses
    in November.

    While the Probability might be Low, Miracles DO Happen.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:07:29 AM PDT

  •  GOP says that after they C#R#U#S#H the Teahadistas (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Sitzman, a2nite, Aquarius40, kfunk937

    there will be a new

  •  Bumper Sticker: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Jon Sitzman, kfunk937

    GOP Takes Unemployment
    Gives you Benghazi

    I'm sure there are some much better ones you can create.

  •  call it class warfare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuelleC, a2nite, Jon Sitzman

    It's not through inaction that the Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits. It is an ideological attack on the working class and on a whole generation of productive and proud citizens.

  •  Most probably, NO. After all, the Teabaghead/ (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Sitzman, JJ Zucal, Aquarius40

    Republicans are now depending upon the upcoming Gowdy Doody show, and BENGHAAAAAAAAZI(!) to take care of the rest of the time up to Election Day in November.  And, none of them has the ability to even try to "multi-task", and actually begin to deal with the important ISSUES - such as unemployment, immigration reform, etc., etc.  You mean you actually expect Beanbrain, and his ilk, to VOTE on something?  Other than, perhaps, another attempt to "repeal the ACA", of course.

  •  Let this be an anchor on (R) necks, come November. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, kfunk937

    There are lots of unemployed American citizens out there who want to do the right thing, for their families and themselves, by finding work.  (Some are members of this site.)  They know that obstruction and stonewalling of the Unemployment Aid program doesn't help them, or anybody, except a group of rich people who don't like taxes being spent to help poorer people (actually, excuse me, the rich people just don't like taxes at all).

    Those unemployed citizens are still quite able to vote.  We can facilitate them, when comes the time, and we damn sure better remind them in every way we can - politely and respectfully but firmly - that Democrats in both houses of Congress have supported aid for them and their families, and Republicans have consistently opposed it.

    If we keep this message out there, and we help voters to the polls in November, this can be a driving issue.  We need every stone we can sling to beat the odds in November, and this is potentially a big one.

    Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

    by Jon Sitzman on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:52:40 AM PDT

  •  There Would Be If - - (0+ / 0-)

    Obama and Reid were willing to compromise on KXL.

    •  Compromise? You mean capitulate... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, a2nite, kfunk937

      ...The change would overturn nearly half a century of precedent in how cross-boundary pipelines, bridges, tunnels and tramways are approved.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon May 19, 2014 at 09:04:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No MB - (0+ / 0-)

        Since 6 unit crude oil trains per day equals the initial capacity of KXL and 10 per day the expanded capacity - the oil will ship. At its peak, coal shipments from the Powder River Basin were 100 trains per day. Obfuscation produces, at most, a couple of years' delay. Plus a far riskier form of transport.

        It's called compromise - and it would give the Dems quite a lot for the upcoming election cycle. (Which, BTW, ain't lookin' so promising, ya know?)

        For you and many others here, KXL has truly become quixotic - a fall-on-your-sword litmus test for all things. Meanwhile, you lose the opportunity to make real gains for the unemployed and those working for minimum wage.


        For a supposedly political website, I don't think I've ever seen such a limited command of political skills. And I've been around politics a long time. As long as you.

        •  Those coal trains are still pouring out of... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aquarius40, Mr MadAsHell

          ...the basin. I suspect you'll be arguing that there should be a "compromise" there as well when it comes to coal export terminals. With your superior command of political skills, what do you think is going to happen to voter turnout of young people—historically weak in the midterms anyway—if Keystone XL is approved? The idea that opposition to Keystone XL is a one-trick pony shows a limited understanding of what this movement is all about.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon May 19, 2014 at 10:11:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do You Want to See Nunn & Grimes Get Elected? (0+ / 0-)

            Yeah, it really is more than one pony. And I'm sure that a "Coal-Free by '23" candidate would sweep the polls in Kentucky.

            Not to mention Landrieu - who is not my favorite senator - or Hagan or Pryor - who are likewise not sterling examples of progressive Dems.

            But I can assure you that their potential GOP replacements would be a lot worse, not only on energy, but a host of other environmental issues, labor issues, women's issues, privacy issues, etc., etc., etc.

            Speaking of singular ponies.


            But getting back to the thread -

            If the Obama admin offered to compromise on KXL, then a comprehensive bill with unemployment extensions and. perhaps, minimum wage increases could be crafted.

            It would be hard for Dems and Goppers to oppose without serious pushback - but with few legislative accomplishments in a frozen session, politicians of both parties are eager to trot out something.

  •  Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Your crocodile tears are worthless. You two are part of the reason we are in this mess, and all the hand wringing in the world can't assuage your guilt.

  •  I'm one of them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, kfunk937

    I've been out of work since I was fired (I consider "laid off" as a business metaphor to make people feel sorry that they had to let workers go) in July 2012.   I've done more than 300 applications and resumes (would have been more if I could drive and look out of the NYC-NJ area) but could get on about 15 interviews.

    According to conservatives, that makes me "lazy."  Sure, I want to sit at home, in my mother's house, every day for $230 a week.  Besides the boredom, this amount doesn't pay for much.

    I'm fortunate in that Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2) has offered support, but I still intend to look elsewhere.  I'm not thrilled with the Dems' heir apparent, for whom I'm supposed to vote because he's the son of a former House member (a pathetic reason).

    As for Keystone, this will not benefit many people - I heard Landreau support this, but how much product will Louisiana receive given the oil's going to Houston?  I don't see this benefitting many people except in the Houston area (if it actually leads to hiring) and TransCanada.  There's also property-rights lawsuits in progress, so a GOP attempt here might be symbolic (like many of their "jobs" bills).

    The comeback began in Virginia ... it's time to make it grow in 2014!

    by JJ Zucal on Mon May 19, 2014 at 10:25:39 AM PDT

  •  Why wasn't this part of the Murray/Ryan budget? (0+ / 0-)

    Why on earth would any Democrats vote for a budget that didn't contain an extension of UI?

  •  The Senate didn't have a show of strength (0+ / 0-)

    It minimally passed a watered-down extension after three months and multiple tries. Not exactly huge pressure on Boehner.

    Had it been like VAWA (overwhelming bipartisan vote on the Democratic version) the House would have caved a long time ago.

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