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Congress, you may have heard, is taking another break. Members are going home—or to Bermuda—until they reconvene in 10 days.

Democrats tried to keep that from happening. By Thursday, some hundred of them in the House had signed Rep. Gary Peters's letter asking Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to cancel the recess in order to renew the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program that lapsed last month. To no avail.

When Republicans let the EUC expire at the end of December, 1.35 million Americans who had been out of work for more than 26 weeks were cut off from the government checks designed to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table until they could find a job. In addition to those, it's estimated that another 70,000 receiving state compensation are passing the 26-week mark each week. Before Dec. 28, they could count on getting the federally funded emergency compensation for another 14 to 47 weeks, depending on which state they live in.

Now they are, as the vulgar proverb has it, up shit creek with no paddle. While they are there, at least one Republican thinks these stranded Americans should just learn how to fish.

Please read below the fold for more on Congress and job compensation.

If there's no resolution of the matter when Congress reconvenes, an estimated total of 4.9 million out-of-work Americans will lose out on compensation they would have received in 2014.

Reporters Arthur Delaney and Samantha Lachman wonder why Democrats aren't staying in D.C. during the recess to put the spotlight on vacationing Republicans while tens of thousands of Americans are added to the list of those who can't pay the rent.

That might make for good optics. You know, lazy Republicans, hardworking Democrats. But already, for weeks, Democrats have been focusing on the unemployment compensation disaster where it will do the most good: on Republican representatives' home turf. Local media across the nation have diligently reported how many people in their own backyards have lost compensation because of Republican intransigence. This local tactic is likely to be a lot more effective than hanging out in Washington.

As I've argued a dozen times over the past few years, what is really needed is a revamping of the entire 79-year-old unemployment compensation program. Bridging the gap for out-of-work people both in times of economic growth and recession should not be made to depend on the whims of politicians who think those receiving compensation are luxuriating layabouts playing Xbox and eating bonbons instead of hunting for jobs. The revamping should include a modernized Works Progress Administration that includes direct government hiring, subsidies or full funding for apprenticeships and other training. Fantasyland, I know, but Social Security and Medicare started as fantasies, too.

In the short run, however, as the pain keeps spreading, Democrats need to hammer every day on the obstructionists who blame jobless Americans for an economic situation not of their own making.

Join us in petitioning Speaker Boehner to get off his butt and bring renewal of emergency compensation to a vote.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:17 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Dems should have never agreed to the (10+ / 0-)

    budget extension without making sure UE was extended.

    •  For the record, the federal budget is a (0+ / 0-)

      farce. Unlike state budgets whose approval signals authorization to spend, the federal budget does no such thing. That's why Washington was able to operate for three years without a budget. What counts in Washington are the appropriations bills. Continuing resolutions merely say that spending at present rates and for present projects is approved to continue.
      The appropriations bill recently passed, on which Paul Ryan, as Chairman of the Budget Committee, had NO EFFECT, funds expenditures for fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, 2014. What happens then? Is there going to be a unanimous consent continuing resolution that nobody notices while everyone is out campaigning?

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:28:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The budget deal takes care of that. (0+ / 0-)

        The Ryan-Murray budget deal set spending levels for both FY 2014 and 2015. They still need to pass a CR that determines which agency gets what amount of discretionary spending, but still, I don't think there will be a huge conflict over it, let alone another shutdown. It will be interesting to see whether they do their job and pass 12 spending bills or just stick with one omnibus bill.

  •  Repubs much like David Wildstein calculate, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, HeyMikey, Glen The Plumber

    'They are all Dem voters'.

  •  Do the damn math, politicians & voters. (5+ / 0-)
    When Republicans let the EUC expire at the end of December, 1.35 million Americans who had been out of work for more than 26 weeks were cut off from the government checks designed to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table until they could find a job. In addition to those, it's estimated that another 70,000 receiving state compensation are passing the 26-week mark each week.
    Meanwhile the US economy created 74,000 jobs last month.

    And of course in 2012, of the 236 million Americans age 18 and up, only 118 million even bothered to vote.

    Holy shit. Just damn.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:51:44 AM PST

    •  There are a couple of reasons for the (4+ / 0-)

      Con attitude towards unemployment compensation, none of which have anything to do with the unemployed:

      1) Subsidizing short-term unemployment is mainly designed to assist corporate employers who need to shutter plant, either for retooling or for seasonal slumps. In other words, the fund is designed to assist employers with significant numbers of workers who can be persuaded to vote "right" for the corporation's angels in Congress.

      2) The "return on investment" from the unemployment fund has not been as expected during recent elections. While the Taxed Enough Already people are decried, the sacrifice of the unemployed in their name is a sort of payback. Innocents always have to suffer for the Cons' mistakes.

      3) The quantity of dollars whose disbursement Congress actually controls has been steadily shrinking by virtue of the Democrats' insistence that Congress keep hands off "designated" funds like SSI and Medicare and, now, the subsidies for the ACA. If they can't target dollars, how will they buy their re-election?  By depriving ACORN of more dollars? By threatening women with vaginal inspections?  By pissing off the Vatican?

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:42:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:01:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately this is done deal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, mchestnutjr, NoMoreLies

    The Repubs are never going to grant an extention without the Dems giving up some other part of the safety net.
       And I really do get the feeling that the Dems want to use this as a political club.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:07:56 AM PST

  •  I am screwed in 3 weeks (12+ / 0-)

    I lost my job of over 20 years and went in UI for the first time in my life. I am 59 and just getting an interview is hard, plus the company I ran is dying out.
    I lose state benefits in 3 weeks and at this point am looking at entry level jobs where I have been told I am overqualified. I assumed I would be able to collect for a year and feel screwed, luckily I have a few bucks in a 401k so I guess if nothing happens I will have to use my retirement early.
    Still I am lucky, my wife can pay the mortgage so we won't lose our house but I feel screwed by my country. I lived an upper middle class life and if I live long enough I am going to be one step above poverty.

  •  The 2014 fiscal year for the federal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hayate Yagami, artmartin, Eric Nelson

    government ends on September 30, 2014.  Then what?

    Are they going to have a continuing resolution to pass through the election? Is the idea to have no money talk while incumbents are on the campaign trail?

    We should not let them get away with that.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:21:03 AM PST

  •  Hammering away (5+ / 0-)

    about R obstruction does nothing to help the unemployed. Every time congress imposes another dose of austerity the Dems hammer away about the evil R's. In reality the Dems have no more interest in the common good then the Repugs if they did they would not make victories for compromise and tout the need for 'sacrifice' and cuts to the safety net. Unemployment extension cut offs took two to become a tango. Whenever they start bartering with the worse evil we all usually end up losing more then we bargained for.          

    •  Agreed that those Democrats, including the... (6+ / 0-)

      ...president, who talk austerity or austerity lite should stop, indeed, should never have started. But, imo, it goes too far to tar all Democrats with the same brush over renewal of emergency unemployment benefits, which only a handful of Republicans are willing to agree to. Extending compensation does help the unemployed. A tactic is needed to accomplish this. Shaming the chief obstacles to doing so may or may not work, but it is better than not fighting.

      As I said, the whole unemployment compensation program needs to be reworked and integrated into a permanent hiring and training program that ends this incessant fight over renewals.

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

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:07:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well they are damned fools aren't they (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sure as a negotiator you'd be 100% more effective than this lot of fools.  

      Er, do you actually have a real suggestion other than pointing out how the Dems are no better than the Repubs?

      Democrats tried to keep that from happening. By Thursday, some hundred of them in the House had signed Rep. Gary Peters's letter asking Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to cancel the recess in order to renew the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program that lapsed last month. To no avail.
      I'm sure if they had simply shouted louder it would have made all the difference.  Sheesh.
  •  Wait, what? (4+ / 0-)
    Members are going home—or to Bermuda—until they reconvene in 10 days. Democrats tried to keep that from happening.
    But in fact
    Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
    So Congress could not have adjourned for 10 days without he consent of... Democrats in the Senate.

    I call bullshit.

    •  The problem with that is that, as David... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, Eric Nelson

      ...Waldman points out, is that the Senate could have objected to adjournment, but then the House could have gone into a series of three-day recesses, with a pro forma session held every third day. That would have the exact same effect as an adjournment.

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

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:09:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm tired of excuses (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexDrew

        Obama is a wimp. It's four years past time to get tough. And you will die of asphyxiation holding your breath waiting for him to DO something meaningful to fight these extremist assholes.

        The President is authorized to dismiss OR call Congress back to session ANY TIME HE SAYS SO. Can you imagine what FOX News would say? Dancin' Dave? George Fucking Will? Mitch McConnell?

        Article II, Section III, Clause I: "...he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper..."

        All he has to do is wait until mid-August and call them back and DEMAND PUBLICLY that they at least vote on HIS BILLS. Threaten to keep them at their desks until it's done--or until he decides they've done enough. The only President I can think of to use this most recently was Harry Truman; NO modern President has actually told Congress when it can and cannot come to work, but it's the fucking President's JOB TO DO SO when Congress is obviously insane and NOT DOING ITS JOB. And that is one point 89% of all Americans can agree on...

        He has power he refuses to use. Constitutional powers. Obama is a wimp. He won't do ANYTHING that might make Bill O'Reilly angry. Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker says so. I believe him for one reason: The RESULTS.

        "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

        by DaddyO on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:59:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The president can call Congress into session... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, LeftHandedMan

          ...and this has happened about 80 times historically, very few since 1933. But no president has ever prorogued.

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

          by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:13:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If not NOW...then WHEN? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AlexDrew

            So by inference I conclude that you believe that Obama should not prorogue OR order Congress into session? Because it's happened so seldom--or not at all? Despite the fact that it is one of the explicit powers he holds?

            If not now...

            From people I trust, like yourself, MB, I hear nothing but bad news. And like anyone with a working brain, I wonder what should be done about it. I wonder what the President can and should do.

            I also hear next to nothing about how much of this bad news is directly due to Democrats and our President, mainly as a result of them trembling in fear when Teabaggers and Republicans tread near.

            I hear the bad news, and I also hear the excuses for YOUR choice of protagonist in this story. Forget it. We are in dire circumstances. And Obama is the wrong President at the wrong time. And 60-plus-percent of all Americans polled agree.

            Keep bringing us bad news, when that's all there is to bring.  But don't even try to tell me who to blame, or how much. If Obama keeps it up, he will go down as one of the worst Presidents in history because he didn't FIGHT for what he SAID he believed. He won his elections--but the rest of us are losing, and damned fast.

            Obama famously said to progressives and liberals, channeling FDR: "Make me do it." But the Daily Kos has NOT 'made' him do anything, and refuses to antagonize their guy. You grant him cover and all but refuse to criticize his outright failures--of which there are legion.

            That is hard to believe.

            "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

            by DaddyO on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 02:07:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  What a load of ............. (0+ / 0-)

    Voting and being politically informed C.O.U.N.T.S!

    Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

    by orlbucfan on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:44:33 AM PST

  •  Engaging in cruel and inhumane punishment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paragryne, Eric Nelson

    that is what the GOP's policy toward the poor, really toward anyone not in their funding circles, has boiled down to.

  •  I challenge Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    to meet face to face with the long term unemployed and say "I cannot vote to extend you a lifeline because there is nothing in it for me."

    "Trying to shovel smoke with a pitchfork in the wind... " - John Lennon

    by Paragryne on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:06:51 AM PST

  •  But..but...but.... (0+ / 0-)

    According to the GOPers, everyone will get off their collective asses and magically have a job since their fat checks will dry up.

    Silly conservatives.

    They think that by slowly killing off safety nets, employer regulations, unions, and other forms of government involvement that are necessary for a healthy society to prosper and behave in a morally responsible manner, that the people most directly impacted will just "disappear."

    History has taught us otherwise.

    "Self-respect is the keystone of democracy"

    by neverontheright on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:54:16 AM PST

  •  Rand Paul, the idiot (0+ / 0-)

    Hey, Rand, nobody gives a crap about you or your ridiculous mentally challenged opinions! And, Obama is right, you have to win elections before you get to control the debate and, you guys haven't come close to winning.  This is a democracy where you have to be in a majority position to flex your muscles!!
    Go back to being an illegal Dr.!!!

    •  When will Obama begin to control the debate? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew

      I have yet to see that happen. But he makes BEAUTIFUL speeches.

      Maybe he's perfectly happy with the way things are. To look at him, to examine his words, his actions, you'd think there was no emergency whatsoever. You'd think that letting the GOP hamstring his policies--whatever they are, because I have yet to see him fight for ANYTHING except re-election--was just fine with him, just another day at the office.

      There are very good reasons his approval ratings are closer to Bush's than they are to Clinton's...

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:45:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  At first the 'stay and do your job' approach.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Paragryne

    ..hit me as the way to make some noise but then this from the linked article shows a huge mistake being made by the republicans relying on worn out insulting Reaganistic attacks on the vey character of workers themselves

    Reed pointed to a bill he recently co-sponsored in the House that would give tax credits to businesses that hire the long-term unemployed - defined as those who've been out of work 27 weeks or longer.
    Typical republican response; give more to the rich corporate employer to motivate action.
    "To me, that's a new way of looking at the issue, and a better way of looking at the issue, because now you get the person back to work. We're teaching people how to fish rather just giving them a fish," Reed said.
    Working folk down on their luck and searching for work will not take kindly to this Paul Ryan/Rand Paul demeaning approach.

    An approach rejected by the Pope too.

    It nothing more than a spun up way of saying the same thing as:

     the rich deserve more to motivate them to act while denying and punishing the out of work folks seeking employment as the incentive.

    Reed's opponent in the race for the 23rd District seat, Tompkins County legislator Martha Robertson, recently criticized him for being "out of touch with the economic realities in his own district" in opposing extended benefits, pointing to the 7.9 percent unemployment rate in Reed's home county of Steuben.

    -emphasis added

    So maybe taking the fight back home instead of staying in D.C. IS the way to go. Bringing the fight where people live even in districts where republicans have gerrymandered themselves to feel safe.

    Maybe the message could be even stronger than "out of touch" though. People are worried and angry, and telling them that they need to learn to fish while watching as the GOP insists that the rich need even more money, and that the rich employer is doing them a favor by "giving them"  a job..that we workers should be "grateful"
    It could be:

     Why is it that the super rich 1%ers/corpos deserve tax breaks to do their jobs and the working folk get punished with denial of unemployment insurance that all workers pay into with a chunk out of every paycheck?

     Reward the rich while punishing the worker - the republican solution - every single time

    Paul Krugman calls it the "Hereditary Principle"

    This actually represents a break with the previous defense of the rich. Until now, the official line has been that what we need are incentives — that jaawwb creeaytohrs won’t do their thing unless we dangle the carrot of immense wealth in front of them. But now we’re supposed to think that it’s not the prospect of future wealth, but wealth in being, that’s what is really so wonderful.
       [snip]
       But this is how it’s going. If the right continues to make political gains, coming next is a reaffirmation of the hereditary principle.

    - emphasis added

    That message makes so much sense to me. It seems it would make a lot of sense for Dams to bring that home too. Wealth disparity is a message of these times that people can really relate to.

    So this..

     

    Local media across the nation have diligently reported how many people in their own backyards have lost compensation because of Republican intransigence. This local tactic is likely to be a lot more effective than hanging out in Washington.
    Yes & Yes; taking it to the local town halls and such. Neighbor to out of work neighbor, family and friends

    Thx MB

    Also too -  everything the republicans are saying spells out to mean lazy/unwanted and useless if not for the "generosity" of the 1%ere - use that against them because that is exactly what the GOP really is calling people seeking work

    - sorry for the long winded version can't seem to get the concise version words together this morning

    •  the invisible individuals who pay taxes... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson
      Reed pointed to a bill he recently co-sponsored in the House that would give tax credits to businesses that hire the long-term unemployed - defined as those who've been out of work 27 weeks or longer.
      Maybe someone should consider giving tax relief to the unemployed (who must pay taxes on their unemployment benefits, thanks to St. Ronnie, and who must pay taxes on income they may derive from their investments).

      When older individuals become unemployed at the whim of their employers and can find no other opportunities, due to employer attitudes about hiring anyone over age 45, for instance, they become invisible in most respects -- except they must still pay taxes, further depleting their retirement nest eggs long before they are eligible for Social Security or potential pension benefits, if their former employers have not used those pension funds for other things.  

      From what I've seen/heard, there is a large contingent of invisible citizens who are battered but can get no relief from anyone, either from potential employers, from the IRS or from any government or charitable organization, because they are still healthy and should have the gumption to get a job and quit complaining.  

      Maybe the hope is that all of these non-productive invisible individuals will die off before they are old enough for Social Security or Medicare, and "the government" will not have to pay them their earned benefits -- leaving more money to be given to the corporations and Republican "legislators" who refused to help the invisible individuals when they needed a helping hand.  

  •  The Great Recession (0+ / 0-)

    Just another topic no one wants to talk about. It's impolite.

    Republicans don't want to talk about it because they know they and their kind caused it. Democrats don't want to talk about it because they have utterly failed to turn things around in any meaningful way.

    And to think I was stupid enough to believe that Obama would change a goddamned fucking thing. We needed an FDR or even an LBJ. We got the worst Democratic President of my 56-year life. There is nothing else that needs be said, so...it won't be.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:42:44 PM PST

  •  It is sad. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaddyO

    It looks like most of our Democratic officials are more interested in using this to get our votes in November, than they are about actually doing anything for us who need it now. It's nothing but theater now. The only real chance of getting anything done was with the budget. Short of tying it to a serious abomination like fast-tracking KeystoneXL, there is absolutely no chance of any meaningful EUC extension past the Republican House, and we all know this. The Republicans have no shame, and they've got even the working class members of their base repeating the line that EUC just makes people lazy. If the Democrats want my vote again in November, they'd better pull a miracle out of their hat.

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

    by rhonan on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:48:39 PM PST

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