Like so many battles coming out of D.C., the latest unemployment benefits debate has turned into a partisan fight. While holiday plans occupy the minds of many Americans, there will be about 2 million unemployed individuals preoccupied with other worries. In hopes of extending benefits past the quickly approaching deadline, the House of Representatives will vote on the bill later this week.

If the bill does not pass there will be many devastating ramifications to those who receive unemployment benefits.

January could potentially be the end of unemployment benefits for jobless Americans. CNNMoney highlighted what is at stake: about $44 billion dollars.

In the current economic downturn, many states need some added support to their jobless benefits and that’s when Congress steps in with federal unemployment benefits — currently in danger of running out. After the initial 2008 approval of federal unemployment benefits, Congress agreed to extend the deadline until the end of 2011.

Benefit length and amount depends on the state’s unemployment rate as well as the individual’s past employment.

Republicans and Democrats Agree to Disagree

Partisan politics have been at the root of many stand-offs and budget disagreements, this one is no different. Republicans and Democrats both agree that unemployment benefits are in need of an extension.

In the past four years, Americans who have had the unfortunate luck of going on unemployment have collected a total of $434 in benefits, costing taxpayers a total of $185 billion to cover these costs.

Republicans believe reductions and pay freezes to federal workers should cover these expenses. The CNNMoney article states that Republicans will also “[prohibit] millionaires from receiving unemployment and food stamp benefits…” I’m sorry, what? Although there are some disagreements on how to go about footing this expensive bill, can we all agree that millionaires do not need food stamps?

Democrats on the other hand, believe this extension should fall under the “emergency spending” category. Emergency spending bills are immune to budget caps, meaning this budget is not in need of being offset like most other budgets. But with the governments constant use of the emergency spending title for almost all the extensions since 2008, Republicans are clearly uncomfortable with this method.

Who is Feeling the Unemployment Pain

There will be approximately 2 million individuals who will be immediately affected in January, with an added 3 million in the upcoming year if a decision isn’t met.

The team plans to keep an eye on the situation in the upcoming days and will break any news that comes our way.


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