The lame duck Congress proved true to their name to those who were hoping for the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act (H.R. 6419) to garner the two-thireds yes vote they would have needed. Unfortunately for those looking forward to possible Unemployment Extension relief, it seems the answer from Capitol Hill is a sound “No!” for now.
November Unemployment Extension Resolution Fails In The House
Though some may incorrectly link the failure of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act to the recent GOP Congressional wins, the House of Representatives is still currently under the power of the Democrats. The Republicans will take the House in January 3, 2011. Until then, the Dems’ majority holds, though it is understood only so much can be accomplished with a defeated party sitting in power for less than eight more weeks.
According to this update on OpenCongress.org, the new, November 2010 Unemployment Extension Act got only ‘Yay’ 154 votes, with 258 Representatives voting ‘Nay’. The Republicans may feel the vote was rushed, and it may well have been, but what the Dems are hoping for is to be able to revote the matter, and prevent ammendments in future attempts.
What Would Unemployment Extension Passage Mean?
Today, the enemployment extension relief that could come from H.R. 6419 would affect millions, according to this article. In fact, writer Saul Relative cites an increase of up to 2 million individuals “tiering out” when the assistance from the July emergency unemployment runs dry Dec. 1. With no additional financial resources for the jobless, he says “analysts predict” a very significant economic impact for millions of Americans.
If the House of Representatives manages to come to terms with party differences and if the bill’s sponsers jump through all the right hoops, unemployment benefits could see an extension until February 2011. However, is this even the right thing to do? What do you think of another round of unemployment extensions? With the American economy trying to recover from (and in many cases, still dig their way out of) recession, it may be prudent to keep another projected 2-6 million people off the soup line and with a shred of dignity as they struggle to find work.
On the other hand, can an unemployment extension take place without increasing our mammoth national debt? Can an extension of jobless benefits be absorbed into our strained system? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Saul Relative article