November 2010 Unemployment benefits extensions bill on the way? Or will Americans who have lost their jobs be left in the cold for the Holidays? The inevitable fight that could loom in Washington over whether such emergency unemployment extensions should be continued may give new meaning to the term “black Friday”. With the holiday season fast approaching, many who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own will face the fears and uncertainty concerning the possibility of losing benefits completely. The emergency benefits that have been provided could come to a halt. It’s a scary prospect for someone without a job entering the Holiday season. It would be a scary prospect anytime for that matter.
Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 of unemployment benefits extensions could all be dropped as we hit the middle of November. A Tier 5 idea is being tossed around by the severely long term employed–but it doesn’t look like it has the potential of gaining enough strength to ever become reality. In fact, the Tier 5 seems to be a huge stretch considering the possibility that all of the other emergency unemployment Tiers could be obsolete. Those who are through with their normally allotted unemployment benefits are certainly very concerned about whether future emergency extensions will be continued these days. It’s unfortunate those fears could turn into reality in the coming month-depending on what happens in Washington. A Senator vote here or there could make the difference between 1-2 million people having benefits or not having benefits. That’s how close this Unemployment Extension battle could be.
Will the Senate or House use the unemployment benefits extension once again as a political and party issue to wage war against one another again? Democrats pushed hard to pass a bill that would allow for the emergency unemployment benefits extensions the last time the issue came up. But the Republicans were quick to point out that these emergency benefits were not paid for. The war that raged in Washington last time cost many people several months of agony–not knowing whether or not they would have money to put food on the table and pay bills. It finally passed–and those who suffered without money were allowed to claim retroactive pay.
It’s starting to seem likely again that any bill concerning emergency unemployment extensions will need to hurdle many challenges again in November 2010. That could result in another lengthy delay in receiving benefits for unemployed Americans. There is also a chance that such a bill would never gain enough strength to actually pass–meaning it might have to be revised, reworded or re-introduced as a completely different bill this time around. When time should be of the essence, such a passage might take weeks if not months.
That means jobless Americans are going to need to brace for a possible delay. If I could share any advice at all, I would tell those jobless Americans who are near the end of a particular Tier to save as much money as possible now. I know the unemployment benefits total compensation is probably just barely enough for most families to make ends meet-but there is a strong possibility that there will be either a lengthy delay(with or without retro pay) or a potential bill that gets completely shot down.
I was in the not so fortunate boat the last time the issue came up in Washington. The politicians argued back and forth for a couple of months on the issue while I waited without any money for nearly 2 months. I eventually landed retroactive pay and survived thanks to a savings account that helped pay the bills on what turned out to be many rainy days. But it was agonizing not knowing what was going to happen. It was frustrating to search for jobs without having something to fall back on. It was frustrating not knowing if my debt collectors were going to grow in number.
Others might not have been as fortunate. I am sure there are those who lost houses, were evicted or didn’t have the money to pay the bills for a few months while the fight continued in Washington. We could have a complete repeat of that scenario once again in November 2010 when the issue of emergency unemployment benefits extensions once again comes up.
The real question here is did the politicians learn from their past mistakes? I found it completely shameful that the politicians who are supposedly representing the people were not more prepared. They’ve had an awful lot of time between the upcoming inevitable war and the last one to think about how they could address the issue of emergency unemployment extensions. Was that time put to use or will we once again be at square one when the November 2010 Unemployment extensions debate rears its ugly head?
Hopefully there will be a much smoother transition for the people who haven’t been fortunate enough to find a job after losing employment through no fault of their own. I am truly skeptical that it could happen that easy. It’s more than likely going to be a hot button issue used for political gain. It would be nice to see the politicians offer up a scenario where such a potential bill is not so controversial.
President Barack Obama has already been pushing for the extension of unemployment benefits. Does that mean the politicians have jotted down notes concerning the topic? Probably not. It seems as if it’s one of those play it by ear issues that will have to be played out in front of the eyes of agonizing Americans-tortured with the real prospects of not being able to put food on the table. I guess my point is that it shouldn’t be a play it by ear issue. It should be a well thought out and organized issue. If the politicians have had this much time to think about what should be done–there should be at least a few Senators who emerge in November with a concrete plan of how to get it done. It wouldn’t shock me if the issue just pops up–and the Senators seem completely surprised that it’s on the agenda again. That’s kind of the way I felt last time watching the issue unfold–and watching the Senators take two lengthy vacations while many Americans struggled to make ends meet.
There were many strong supporters of providing the unemployment extensions on the Democrat side-for that I was thankful and it certainly earned my vote during the November election. However, there were many Republicans who were critical of funding a bill that was not paid for. Will that be the major stumbling block? The major hurdle this time around? As a country, it’s not like we are growing richer. In fact, we are going more in debt everyday. That means there isn’t more of a surplus of money this time around that last time. So it seems quite inevitable we are headed down the exact same road. The politicians should be well ahead of the game this time on the topic but I truly believe that it will be back to square one as if the issue never even consumed Washington a few months ago.
The November 2010 Unemployment extensions issue will more than likely be a repeat of similar episodes we’ve seen in the past. There is some momentum building for the Republican case and even Democrats were skeptical that such a bill would pass in November when it finally was approved several months ago.
So the unemployed who are near a particular Tier need to buckle down and get ready for a fight they have no control over. It’s unfortunate the people who are directly impacted have to watch things play out without a voice in the entire matter. Let’s just hope that this inevitable fight lasts just days and not months-like the last time.