House democrats push for unemployment insurance extension

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While Republican lawmakers fret over Americans with individual healthcare plans losing their insurance, House Democrats are putting pressure on Republican leaders to ensure unemployed Americans don’t lose their own benefits.

In a letter to the GOP chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, several democratic committee members urged Rep. Dave Camp to take a break from hearings on the Affordable Care Act and hold one on the necessity of extending unemployment compensation through the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

“An urgent economic issue confronts us through the pending expiration of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program on Dec. 28, when 1.3mn Americans would immediately lose vital insurance as they continue to look for work,” the representatives wrote. “We must hear from Americans who just days after Christmas would immediately lose their unemployment insurance if Congress takes no action.”

Republican lawmakers have not responded to the plea, nor given a strategy for how to handle the program’s expiration.

“If the White House has a plan in mind, we’ll take a look, but it would be better for the President to focus on helping the unemployed find jobs,” a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner told the Washington Post.

If the program expires, 1.3mn Americans would face an “immediate cutoff” from their unemployment coverage, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said. The group added that extending benefits would help counterbalance the slow pace of the economic recovery as long-term unemployment continues to hold steady.

In the 2013 financial year, the federal government spent $26bn on the unemployment program. In recent years, Congress has amended the program to extend through the year four times rather than engage in serious policy revision.

The insurance program was created in 2008 following the financial crisis to help recently laid-off workers maintain living expenses while searching for a new job. The federal benefits kick in when claimants exhaust their 26 weeks of state-run unemployment insurance.

  • TONY G on 12/2/2013 9:13:44 AM

    How about a bit more info in this article - is this an extension beyond the 99 weeks already available?

  • Don H on 12/2/2013 10:22:32 AM

    Can we get real here for a minute? Yes, there are people out of work. Yes, there are families that are struggling. But, there are also jobs. I live in a small US city and there are multiple businesses in our town that are hiring and in fact I have spoken to a few of these employers and they tell me they are getting no applicants for the available jobs. Yes, I said NO applicants. These jobs may not be glamorous and maybe some folks feel the are "below" them. However, when the government allows people to get paid to not work what do we expect is going to happen??? If the unemployment issue hasn't been fixed by extending the benefits repeatedly since 2008 are these people that blind? My opinion may be cold and indifferent but as a small employer who has been paying extra unemployment taxes to fund this, I say, enough is enough. Pull the pin! Let it expire. I have never had to claim unemployment and I hope that day never comes but as a husband and father I for one would do whatever it took to provide for my family. Including a job that was beneath my skill level. The bible said it well:

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

    John Smith said it also:
    In the spring of 1609, John Smith cited the aphorism to the colonists of Jamestown:

    "Countrymen, the long experience of our late miseries I hope is sufficient to persuade everyone to a present correction of himself, And think not that either my pains nor the adventurers' purses will ever maintain you in idleness and sloth...

    ...the greater part must be more industrious, or starve...

    You must obey this now for a law, that he that will not work shall not eat (except by sickness he be disabled). For the labors of thirty or forty honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintain a hundred and fifty idle loiterers."

  • Brian Burke on 12/2/2013 11:12:33 AM

    This program should be extended. 1.9m familys with no pay would lead to other goverment programs being used. I agree a more solid effort to help unemployed find jobs.

  • JJ SMITH on 12/3/2013 8:34:52 AM

    Brain Burke- How much help is the government supposed to give? At some point people have to be responsible for themselves and their families. As Don H mentioned, there are jobs out there. It is the same where I live. Maybe these folks should fill out a job applicaton instead of waiting for our wonderful government to give them more "a more solid effort" to find a job. Since when is it the givernments responsiblity to find jobs for people?

  • Adam on 12/3/2013 8:41:45 AM

    @Tony G:
    The duration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) is based on the state unemployment rate. The point that this article is missing is that EUC triggers after an individual has exhausted all of their state benefits (generally about 26 weeks).

    Failure to extend EUC will result in cutting off benefits for everyone; the long-term and relatively short-term unemployed.

    Based on the current unemployment numbers, it is unconscionable to think that they would consider cutting off 1.3 million people come January 1st... oh, right... Republicans..

  • Anthony on 12/3/2013 9:14:56 AM

    JJ Smith - Unemployment is set up for people who had employment, and then, are no longer working through no fault of their own. The keywords are "had employment." A lot of people had good paying jobs before they were shipped over seas or simply because the US company had to close down because they could not compete.

    Unemployment is a good program and it affords the opportunity for those who had a good paying job to find something that pays reasonable, instead of being at the mercy of a job market were employers are always cutting, moving, or condensing jobs, to save money, in hopes of increased profit from the year prior.

    Although it is good for companies to want to increase their bottom line, it is bad for the country in the long run, as a whole. So with that being said, it buffers a little bit of big company control, by making them think twice about firing someone for a wrongful reason and it helps those whose specific specialities to apply for jobs in a competitive market.

  • John A on 12/3/2013 9:59:01 AM

    Mr Don H, you need to get real on this issue...what type of jobs are you writing about going unfilled$ 9.. per hour jobs. I have worked all my life since I was six years old. I have lived at my means, I have put money away for the rainy day,well it poured i got laid off due to corporate greed to satisfy the bottom line of stockholders and now with Ui and my rainy day fund which is almost gone and the lack of well paying jobs,not those in your little town I am on the edge of the clift if UI goes away. It will be pork and beens on toast seven nights a week. Sleeep well

  • Don H on 12/3/2013 10:35:40 AM

    John A- I don't wish your postion on anyone. Maybe what happened was wrong. But if $9 an hour is the starting point it takes to get back to where you were then I would hope you would consider it. I started at $5.00 an hour pushing a lawn mower with no benefits 25 years ago. Alot has changed since then but I have never waited for the government to fix my situation. I realize it doesn't sit well with some folks but extending UI is not the answer in my opinion. American ingenuity and self responsibility is. Just sayin.....

  • Bob D on 12/3/2013 1:39:33 PM

    The problem is aside from the lack of jobs in many areas, is the fact that some of us were laid off (such as myself and 400 others in my company) after 10+ years of climbing the ladder, right at the point where our parent claim ends and tier one extension would kick in. So essentially unless the republicans get off their asses, we are left out to dry.

    We are not asking them to extened any extensions but to at least allow those of us who qualified for the extensions to run them out if we do not find suitible employment by then.

    Granted I might not find a job like a had being a territory manager of a huge corporation, I am not qualified or able to do hard physical labor. Now I will have no choice if nothing I do qualify comes up but at least with the extensions I have a chance to find something if/when the economy comes back, or at least time to train for a different field.

    I did not ask to be laid off, I was working my butt off sometimes 18 hours a day..but the stockholders decided my division was not a part of their "new focus". I was not prepared for a career change nor was I expecting to get laid off during a terrible ressesion. I did thank goodness get a serverence but the unemployment has been a life saver and after being in the workforce that paid into it for the past 30 something plus years..I do feel entitiled. I had never needed to use the insurance before and never was laid off until this.

  • jaad on 12/3/2013 3:07:45 PM

    is quoting the bible supposed to make the people on unemployment feel bad? it seems as though someone always has to bring the bible into every issue, which thankfully means nothing to me, but I can see how it would make a lot of believers feel awful about themselves. which I think was the point. but they too may be husbands and fathers, or single mothers, doing whatever they must to support their families. like accept unemployment until they find SUITABLE work. I understand taking a job below your pay grade is at some point necessary... but a lot of jobs below pay grade consider you overqualified and won't hire you assuming that you'll ask for too much money or expect more pay raises and benefits than they are willing to give. or whatever their other reasons may be. and in some towns there may be jobs without applicants that are hiring, but I live in a very big city and to even find a place hiring is almost impossible! and the ones that are hiring are part time, no benefits at min wage. and those are few and far between. I understand that people think unemployment is just a "handout", but no one wants to be on unemployment making substantially less than what they had previously been making and not knowing when you'll even get a check because the unemployment department is months behind right now. it's not the glamorous work free life that it's sometimes made out to be. good luck to all seeking jobs! things will work out eventually! :)

  • Dc on 12/3/2013 3:40:44 PM

    If republicans want a chance to win back power they better extend extension.

  • Kris on 12/3/2013 4:18:48 PM

    For those who think being unemployed is a vacation and that the unemployed are just leisurely sitting around, doing nothing and NOT looking for work, let me tell ya... I hope you're never in a situation where you have to see how it really is.

    I'm 31, I have two degrees (a bachelors in business and finance, a master's in a business related field - prefer not to give too much of my identity away on here. Both from well-respected schools). I was working, hard... I switched over to a nonprofit to work more closely within my field and for better opportunities and WHAM! Within a couple months, they let me go with no reason other than they no longer wanted to keep my position.

    So here I am... my resume is mostly school related with an odd job here, an odd job there (since I worked my way through college). I had one long term job after graduate school (administrative work, nothing fancy or high paying. I barely paid my bills on that salary, but I didn't complain, I did what I had to do). The last job I had (the one I switched to) lasted only a few months and even though I stress that it was due to no fault of my own, no company is willing to give me the time of day. I send out hundreds of job applicants a month, if not more. I applied to Ikea and Barnes and Noble the other day (for the second or third time, not getting my hopes up for a call back).

    Why? Because there is discrimination against the unemployed. And I'm not just talking about higher paying jobs that would require an education. Oh no... I've tried getting a job at a grocery store and guess what? No call back. I keep applying though...

    And let's be honest here... I live in Southern California, and while my apartment is modest and in a cheaper part of the state, you simply can't pay your rent on minimum wage. You just can't. I don't have any kids, thankfully... but still, I'm not asking to live well here, but to work a job and still be homeless? Come on... so sure, I may not want to run into the nearest McDonalds, but not because I'm too good for it... but because my rent (the cheapest rent in the area I might add) needs to be paid. The answer for those not wanting to work minimum wage? Go to college. Okay, what about those folks who did that? What about those people who have worked years and years, only to be let go on a whim. And before you say anything, yes... I'm planning to move out of state to a cheaper area, but moving in and of itself costs money, especially when you're tied up in a lease and the landlord isn't willing to let you go. But I am planning on moving somewhere cheaper, somewhere in the midwest, as soon as I can. That way, a job at Burger King can at least cover my rent.

    I've applied at retail still, thinking something is better than nothing. I never get called in for an interview. The one time I have, I was pretty much told that I was overqualified and they feared I would run out as soon as a better job came along. No amount of promises would change their mind.

    So what are we supposed to do now? We've slipped through the cracks, employers refuse to even look at us because we have a back mark on our record. Many of us are willing and ready to do whatever work we can get, but trust me... it isn't that easy.

    It's so easy to sit back and judge others when you're not in their shoes. You'd rather claim we are lazy or deserving of this because God forbid you admit that sometimes people get a shitty break in life. You'd rather see us as the enemy instead of actually having some compassion and admitting that sometimes bad things happen to good, hard-working people.

    Unemployment isn't like welfare, these are people who were once employed... who are still wanting to work... and trust me, we aren't living cozy either. The bills hardly get paid. We live check to check, wondering if the EDD is going to screw up and hold our payments for a month or two... which is happening right now actually, causing many people to be evicted. Do you think this is fun? Really? Perhaps you know one or two entitled people who don't really need unemployment, who can simply sit back and watch TV all day. But the majority of us can barely get by and everyday is stressful and depressing as we try to find our way out of this mess.

    It's not fun, trust me. I'd do anything to be off unemployment. I just want to be able to pay my rent and feed myself and I'm not above doing any type of work, including flipping burgers. But I have to pay my rent too. It's not easy trying to figure all of this out. It's not easy making it all work.

    It's a mess... and I wish this wasn't even an issue. I wish we didn't need extensions... but I'm not sure what else there is to do. Letting these people go hungry and homeless is not the answer, though. That much is certain.

  • Don H on 12/3/2013 4:36:34 PM

    Kris- I appologize. You are obviously a hard working individual. I have offended several of you with my emotionally charge opinions. I will keep them to myself regarding this issue. And No, Jaad- making people feel awful was not the point.

  • Simon S on 12/3/2013 4:55:06 PM

    JJ Smith - Anthony has it right. Here's my story. 58 yo, been working since I was 15. I have collected unemployment exactly twice in my life; once when I was 22 yo and the second time this year. I'm not exactly what you would call a load on the system. I was laid off from my last job after 7 years. My salary was 100K+ and I followed a career to get there. Finding a job that will cover my basic needs in this area is really tough, but I know it will work out.
    I just need a little more time. The federal extension will allow me that if it is passed. I don't like the fate of millions of unemployed Americans being turned into a political football as evidenced by Speaker Boehner's staff comments above.
    Are there slackers abusing the system? Of course! But my experience says most are not. We'd rather work than be on unemployment.

  • Bob D on 12/3/2013 9:36:53 PM

    Just in case anyone wants to go bible quotes....consider these..

    Hebrews 13:16

    Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

    Matthew 6:1-4

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    Luke 21:1-4

    Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

    2 Corinthians 9:7

    Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    1 John 3:17

    But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

    Luke 12:33

    Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

    Proverbs 19:17

    Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

    Deuteronomy 15:7-11

    “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

    Hebrews 13:2

    Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    Luke 6:38

    Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

    Matthew 5:42

    Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

    John 13:34-35

    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    Hebrews 13:5

    Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    Proverbs 31:8-9

    Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

    Proverbs 21:13

    Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

    James 1:27

    Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

    1 Timothy 6:9

    But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

    1 Timothy 6:10

    For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

    1 Corinthians 13:13

    So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

    1 Corinthians 13:1-13

    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; ...

    Romans 13:8-10

    Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Acts 4:32-35

    Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

    Matthew 16:26

    For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

    Matthew 7:12

    “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

    Hebrews 13:1

    Let brotherly love continue.

    Ephesians 5:11

    Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

    John 3:17

    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

    Luke 16:13

    No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

    Matthew 6:14-15

    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    Matthew 5:43-48

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? ...

    Matthew 5:17

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

    1 Corinthians 13:4

    Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

    1 Corinthians 5:11

    But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

    Leviticus 19:18

    You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

    Luke 4:4

    And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”

    Matthew 25:31-46

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, ...

    Matthew 20:28

    Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Matthew 18:21-35

    Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. ...

    Ephesians 6:11

    Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

    2 Corinthians 6:14

    Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

    Matthew 22:34-40

    But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. ...

    Matthew 21:1-46

    Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” ...

    Matthew 7:21-23

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Matthew 6:24

    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

    1 John 4:1

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    1 Peter 5:14

    Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

    James 2:1

    My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

    2 Timothy 3:16

    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

    Galatians 6:1-10

    Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. ...

    2 Corinthians 8:12

    For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.

    1 Corinthians 13:8

    Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

    Romans 16:17

    I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

    Mark 12:31

    The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    Psalm 91:1-16

    He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...

    Revelation 2:14

    But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

    1 Peter 1:1-25

    Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ...

    James 1:1

    James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

    Isaiah 1:1-31

    The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. ...

  • Ginger_Again on 12/3/2013 10:06:21 PM

    @Kris: Well said! I too have applied for numerous jobs below my skills, qualifications, and former rate of pay. Wether I apply online, or in-person, I always submit a cover letter expressing (in business English of course) that I will accept any pay, do not expect benefits, will work whenever, and will meet or exceed expectations. I HATE being on un-enjoyment! I would take flipping hamburgers over sitting at home or hoofing it applying for jobs. Looking for a job is a full-time job as they say. I also read that there either are not enough people willing to flip burgers or too many willing to do so. I'm currently working on my second degree. Was laid-off after five years from a job I truly loved. The company just up and closed. I took it so hard I was committed to a psych facility for a month after. I'm just happy my insurance covered it so I don't have that hefty bill to contend with. Good luck in your job search. You will eventually find something as will I. Everthing's Eventual.

  • MBaker on 12/3/2013 10:44:33 PM

    I have two bachelor's degrees (English and History) and a master's (communications). I have worked in public relations in higher education for more than 15 years when a budget crisis, caused by the college president's mismanagement of resources, led to massive layoffs.
    Unemployment barely covers my car note, gas and food. At one point I was sending out three resumes a day.
    I'm sure I'll be hired again soon but in the meantime, yea, I could use an extension when my state money runs out. I understand the fed benefits automatically reduce the state benefits by 10 percent.
    Woopie, I'll be living high on the hog.

  • Alex Chavez on 12/4/2013 3:03:56 AM

    I was making $22 an hour before being laid off in 2009. After spending all my savings, I was only able to find a job that paid half of that, which I was laid off from last December. I moved out of my studio apartment and rented a bedroom right away. I buy my groceries for 25 dollars a week at the 99 cent store. When my 900 a month in benefits runs out in a few weeks, I'm facing homelessness.

    I'm no longer hoping for decent pay and, in spite of having an education and a ton of experience, have been applying to minimum-wage paying jobs for months, none of which have called me.

    There are no politics behind my post. I just want you all to hear an anecdotal account from a non-lazy person (as opposed to those of you who think that those of us collecting are just freeloaders) who is willing to clean toilets or work at McDonald's to survive.

    Let go of your preconceived notions and prejudices before judging others.

  • Tara W on 12/4/2013 7:15:40 AM

    I am currently unemployed and am collecting state unemployment from CT. My last job paid me 93K a year. Taking an "un-glamorous" job is not beneath me, but I am only making 40 percent of my last salary while collecting, and taking a real, low paying job is just not an option for my family. We have since sold our house and made no profit, pulled our daughter out of private school, went into forebearance on student loans, and have had to refinance our cars.... we are making all efforts to downsize our household financial needs. Just because people are accepting assistance doesn't mean they are having a grand time at home. My unemployment has taken a massive toll on myself and my loved ones. I made plenty of money over the last decades to not feel guilty about collecting unemployment. Please stop quoting the bible and whatever other foolish quotes you have on hand to make matters worse. Some of us our readjusting, and it may take time.

  • TONY G on 12/4/2013 8:48:55 AM

    There is no lack of good ideas to help people who can't help themselves. The real question is - which ones work and which ones are affordable. Someone needs to have the guts to make the call...but it doesn't seem that anyone who controls the spending - has the guts to make the hard call.

  • Bob D on 12/5/2013 6:57:34 PM

    Sad thing is the call would not be that hard. Continue the extensions for those that qualify and need it for 2014. It could easily pay for itself if they lower some of the tax cuts and subsities the megarich and big oil have enjoyed since Bush destroyed the economy. Time for a little paying of dues. Once the economy rebounds by all means give them back the massive tax cuts and subsities. For now there are some people just trying not to lose their homes....the rich might need to hold off on that new yacht or plane for a year....I think they can manage.

  • TONY G on 12/6/2013 8:25:05 AM

    Sounds like - don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that (rich) fellow, behind the tree.
    Two questions - how long should the federal govt offer unemployment benefits...and why shouldn't unemployment benefits be a loan, instead of simply "given" money?

  • Bob D on 12/6/2013 10:26:20 AM

    The unemployed paid tax too. You can;t even qualify for unemplyment if you did not work long enough and make enough to qualify. So it is not welfare.

    As far as your questions unemployment should be given for as long as you qualify for the extension which was I believe around 37 weeks. What they are doing is cutting off all extensions unless and until congress votes on it. The republicans as usual are holding this up no surprise there but millions of people suddenly cut off is going to bite them in the ass and we will just vote out more of them out as is the trend since they caused this mess.

    As far is it being a loan that is perhaps something that should be looked into. However if it was a laon then the employers should no longer have to be forced to pay into the system which currently works more like insurance then a loan. The downside might be then what if recipeints can't or don't pay the loan back? They would then be just like the USA is currently...borrow, borrow, borrow, bailout, borrow rinse repeat.

  • Bob D on 12/6/2013 10:43:35 AM

    Also to add I notice your first comment where you ask "is this an extension beyond the 99 weeks already available?"

    So you are uninformed. That was gone long ago. The 99 weeks was an emergency fund when the rate was higher then it now back in 08 when Bushes and the republicans "plan" failed miserably.

    There was a 4 tier extension plus some other federal emergency fund that including the 26 week parent plan would max out at 99 weeks.

    Currently there are only 3 tiers available after the parent claim. But that does little good when all 3 tiers are abruptly cut on Dec 28th. My 26 weeks ended this month and I have yet to find employment. The 1st tier will only give me a couple of weeks meaning myself and everyone else is cut off right after Christmas if they don;t vote on this. And since they are dragging ass at this point even if they do vote it still could be months many will be without income. Of course some might be abusing the system but most are looking for work. The economy is still in shambles.

    Bottom line for me is not adding onto the extentions of even bringing back the 99 weeks, only they should judge by unfudged numbers what the actual unemployment rate is and see they should at least allow those that qualified for tiers 1-3 to live them out if needed.

    When the unemployed start to find work again they as well will be paying taxes again and then we can worry about tax cuts for the mega rich and big oil. Until then everyone should sacrafice a little as the people who collect unemployment did not quit working (since you don't qualify if you quit work), we were laid off...and most of us from really good jobs we had for years or decades. We were laid off due to the economic crisis that unless you are living in a cave with blinders on and your fingers in your ears going "la la la la" know who caused this.

  • TONY G on 12/6/2013 11:11:43 AM

    OK - I hear what you are saying about the tiers - but what about extending it as long as it is needed - BUT you have to pay it back when you find work. Make it insurance for 26 weeks and a loan after that until you find work...but you must engage in job training during that time.

  • Kris on 12/6/2013 11:54:58 AM

    Tony (and others talking about making unemployment extensions a "loan", here's something to think about...

    The big complaint we see over and over again is that the unemployed won't take low wage jobs. You think straddling us with a huge debt we have to pay off is going to push us to take jobs that barely cover our rent? I may take a job if it covers my living expenses, but chances are it won't cover any extras... much less a loan payment. So then, you see more people turning down jobs they might have otherwise taken if they didn't have that payment and it just makes the situation worse, not better.

    That is not a solution. I agree, we need a solution to get people off unemployment... but that solution isn't cutting them off and letting everyone go homeless and starve. That'll end up being worse for the economy instead of better.

    You guys, remember this about the unemployed... there are two things must be present to qualify for assistance... 1) We had a job (which meant we paid taxes like everyone else) and 2) We lost our jobs DUE TO NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. If you're fired for slacking off or you quit because you thought living off unemployment would be better than working, you don't qualify for benefits. And yes, I hear of people being turned down all the time. Those who are on it, lost their jobs because of layoffs, positions being eliminated or other reasons which were out of their control.

    It seems many people seem to forget these two things. I've paid taxes that cover items I don't want to pay for, funded wars and paid for congressional salaries I'd rather not support. I worked for years and paid into the system too and I paid for things I wish I didn't have to pay for too. It's called the price of being an American citizen. I don't agree with how things are handled in this country, but remember... making us lose our homes might make you feel better about yourself, but it solves nothing. These are people who also paid taxes and who were at one time, gainfully employed. And MANY of us would take any job we can find...

    If you'd like to know what it's really like, read my blog post about it...

  • Bob D on 12/6/2013 12:00:15 PM

    That is a possible option. Now how do we get the dems and repubs to agree to it?

    I would be more concerned if I really thought the majority of recipients were abusing the system but I feel right now most of the unemployed are victims of failed economic policies. What is going to happen is, that if they do not grant these extensions before the economy starts really picking up again, that these people who are getting abruptly cut off will be forced into real welfare and food stamps etc...or worse possible illegal activities.

    There is really no good that can come out of cutting off these extensions at this time. However there could be more incentive to force some who are abusing the system to look for work or training.,,that I agree with. I myself am skilled and educated enough in my field to have faith I will get a decent job in time (or perhaps go into business for myself) but there are others in much worse shape and I feel for those.

  • Haylo G on 12/6/2013 12:14:11 PM

    I would just like to say to those of you who have never had the misfortune to lose your job unexpectedly and need to use your unemployment benefits, that it is no walk in the park. Not only does it barely pay enough to do what needs to be done each month but it also lowers the moral of the family having to struggle through to make ends meet. My husband was unemployed for a little over eight months and thankfully has a job now but in that eight months I have never seen someones self esteem and self worth go down so low and also it doesn't help when your resume is all over job websites and you get emails up the wazoo to apply and you apply for every possible job that comes your way and then nothing. When you call a week later to follow you get no response and when you have two kids and can't afford daycare and share a car it's even harder to get out there in the workforce to apply at places. No free loading off the government in our family just desperatly trying to stay afloat. Before you employed people, who have been blessed with never being unemployed, pass judgement on why you think that people like our family don't deserve to recieve anymore benefits after December 28th shame on you for even beggining to think you have a right to judge anyone elses situation through this very economically difficult time in our country. I say mind your own business and give thanks for your income and employment status. I am not trying to be disrecpectful, I have just seen first hand how difficult and depressing it is to be on unemployment because it affects so much more than the person not working. It affects the entire family and puts a lot of unhappiness out in the everyday home life because the depression of NOT WORKING is almost unbearable. Oh and one more thing... Really? A loan? That's hillarious. How do you pay that back when that money is what comes in to keep you afloat and then when your employed pay it back while still maintaining some financial stability. Not possible. Most people on unemployment have to take out payday loans and title loans as it is to keep their power on and have a place to live. That would just screw families like mine even more. Ridiculous.

  • Blackthought on 12/6/2013 1:52:04 PM

    Is it even possible to hire everyone in a given city/state that wants a job? I can't even imagine there being more jobs than there are people. What do you do when all the jobs are taking and the government is shutdown. I don't get those who believe that anyone and everyone should be able to get a job or two. Jobs are scarce!

  • Chris on 12/6/2013 2:08:57 PM

    Don H., JJ Smith and Tony G.,

    Congrats on living a trouble-free life...I sure hope you guys never experience hardship. Although one of you tried to quote the Bible, I was left with the impression that reading it is just a way for you to pass the time. Repeating scripture while being cold-hearted is a dangerous line to walk. I suggest you try reading the whole book first cause you sound like a talking-head taking a statement out of context.

    As for the topic, UI Benefits are provided to those individuals who once had jobs but lost them at no fault of their own, who have not been able to find work...any work. Call it what you want, but it should be extended!

  • Tom on 12/9/2013 8:18:46 AM

    Good luck to all unemployed people. God has help me through my days of unemployment. I have made it each month and have not missed a bill. Neighbors and family have helped me. I apply for jobs everyday and I have been unemployed sense April 1, 2013. As I said good luck to all. Pray it does help.

  • Akron1 on 12/11/2013 9:39:03 PM

    The Republican's and Big Businesses are cutting jobs and sending them overseas for bigger profits. I hope the American people remember this the next election.

  • JJ SMITH on 12/12/2013 8:31:19 AM

    Akron1- I hope the American people remember that under the current administration the price of gas, groceries,utilities and health care (that's a whole different subject) has sky rocketed. Unemployment is still at all time highs and the Nation Debt has increased even more. The Republicans are to blame for this???? Let's open our eyes and remember who was at the wheel when the train derailed! And don't even try to blame this on the Bush Administration. The Democrats wanted the White House and the mess that went with it. They got it. Now, what have they done with it? Where are we today compared to Obama's first day in office? Hmmmmmmm? Yes, I hope the American people remember.

  • Bob D on 12/12/2013 12:26:37 PM

    JJ SMITH. The issue here is jobs and unemployment. There is enough blame to go around on both sides of the isle. If you remember back to 07-08 it was Bush that had inacted this emergency unemployment extension due to the horrible recession that the failed economic policies caused, not to mention trillion for Iraq which they did not find any WMDs. There have been some inprovements in jobs and the unemployment rate since Obama but of course we all know it is not enough yet. Granted the unemployment rate is down slightly it is still far above the levels where at any time in history since the 1940s they would pull the emergency extensions.

    So all the blame aside, all the rhetoric aside, and regardless of all the other issues we have to deal with, the bottom line is that the republicans are the ones fighting the extensions for 2014 which means 3 days after Christmas if there is not a vote in favor millions will be cut off abruptly, rather then gradually or incrementally as you would expect during a job crisis.

    Bear in mind that unemployment funds are for WORKERS, not free loaders or leeches. You can not even qualify for unemployment insurance if you quit your job without good cause, or were fired for being a screw up. Heck you can't even get it while you are sick. You have to be activily looking for work, willing and able to work, and submit job searches weekly. So what that says is the vast majority of the unemployed who qualify, were laid off by no choice of thier own..myself included after over 10 years with a corporation that was forced to make cuts and restructure due to stockholder decisions. Unemployment is taxed as well. We are looking for work.

    No if the republicans have their way what do you think these million who still can;t find work will do? Steal? Sell drugs? Go on welfare, food stamps and any other social service they can find to survive? Is it not a better idea to keep us looking for work withour heads above water and able to pay bills and gas etc?

    With that said also bear in mind that unemployment benefits and extensions are NOT forever and NOT a way of life. I know many like to spread it is 99 weeks but that was cut down a while ago. Currently a parent claim is only 26 weeks. If they vote on any extensions at best they might give a few more months which is all we are asking. The cost for this is about the same as it costed us for the government shutdown. Think about that.

    Happy Holiday.

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