The Senate will vote on Monday, January 6 to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The extension of unemplyoment insurance was not included in the budget deal that passed Congress in December, and as a result, they expired on December 28 for the 1.3 million long-term unemployed. Reid told the Associated Press that he is hopeful the bill will pass the Senate but fearful that it may not pass the House of Representatives, a chamber he referred to as a “black hole of legislation.”
“I don’t predict anything in the House,” Reid said. Meanwhile, a group of moderate House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in December, asking them to consider a temporary extension of unemployment insurance. “We respectfully request that the House consider a temporary extension of emergency unemployment insurance to protect an essential safeguard that has aided Americans who have endured though a weak economy,” the letter read in part.
President Obama has also urged Congress to pass the extension, calling it an urgent economic priority. “As the President has repeatedly made clear, it defies economic sense, precedent and our values to allow 1.3 million Americans fighting to find jobs to see their unemployment insurance abruptly cut off,” said Gene Sperling, White House Director of the National Economic Council. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also called for an extension of unemployment insurance. “10 years ago I was proud to begin working on bipartisan efforts to save unemployment insurance,” tweeted Clinton on Tuesday. “Let’s do it again quickly in this new year.”
10 years ago I was proud to begin working on bipartisan efforts to save unemployment insurance. Let’s do it again quickly in this new year.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 31, 2013
Harry Reid said that some of his other priorities include addressing the income inequality between the rich and the poor, and raising the minimum wage. “The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, the middle class is getting squeezed and it’s just not fair,” said Reid.
[Image via Fox News]