Those that have chosen to follow the plight of America’s 5 ½+ million 99ers that are living with slim hopes that a dysfunctional Congress will finally come to their senses and pass some form of relief for the long term unemployed little remains except questions. As one that is following this issue religiously, it is frustrating not to be able to piece together at least a semblance of an answer for what seems like simple straight forward questions. Today, while following the blog on the OpenCongress website for S.3706 The Americans Want to Work Act, I was struck by the simple, yet complicated, questions posted by one blogger regarding what the next steps might be for getting passage of a Tier V unemployment extension provision contained in the bill.
Today, a poster going under the moniker takinbackdtreets essentially was begging for the answer to the question “what’s next?” The problem is, nobody really knows what the answer to this question will be. Questions asked by takinbackdtreets related to action on S.3706 were:
1) Does anyone know if this bill will be reconsidered when they get back from their latest vacation?
2) What is the process etc. etc?
3) What chance does it have?
As much as I would love to be in a position to answer these questions, I was immediately struck with the notion that my crystal ball must be in the shop getting fixed, because I really don’t have a clue what will happen in the near future. As much as I look for updates, aside from the few web writers that I have found that are dedicated to following our current unemployment disaster, media coverage is next to non-existent. With mid-term elections looming, one would think that the media would be all over this story and one would be bombarded with the answers to takinbackdtreets questions above by politicians eager to win the 99ers votes, but this does not appear to be the case.
For fear of spreading false hopes to those in great distress, one can only review recent actions that paint a bleak future for the passage of this bill with a few rays of light that seem to be breaking through the clouds. What has transpired to date:
A) Senator Stabenow introduced this bill just days before the Senate recessed for their 4″TH of July break. Having 11 co-sponsors for the bill including Majority Leader Harry Reid, the bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee for action.
B) Senator Stabenow brought the bill to the floor again just days before the Senate recently recessed before the mid-term elections in an attempted to get the bill passed by unanimous consent, which failed. The bill still had not been costed by the CBO nor had it been released by the Senate Finance Committee at the time that Senator Stabenow brought it back to the Senate floor.
C) With Congress on a self-imposed recess that cut the legislative session short so our representatives could get back home to campaign for re-election instead of trying to conduct the nations business, there are no updates available on what actions, if any, are being taken on this bill.
With congressional approval rates at record lows, an atmosphere of total gridlock in the Senate with every bill seemingly needing to get past a filibuster for passage, and politicians putting re-election before duty, Nostradamus couldn’t predict what will happen in regards to passage or rejection of this bill in the upcoming lame duck session after the elections. The only thing clear at this point is that with the most recent unemployment numbers indicating that new jobs are not being created at anywhere’s near the required rate, something has to be done to both extend EB benefits for millions facing a lapse in payments come November 30’TH, and that something should be done for the 99ers who have lost their job for no reason of their own.
Will our representative’s come to their senses after the mid-terms? Will those that did not get re-elected return to a lame-duck session angry and vindictive? Will those that did get re-elected return with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication? Will Obama finally come out in support of a Tier V and more assistance for the unemployed? I am left with only my favorite Mark Twain quote, “I was proud that I could respond quickly, I said I don’t know!”
If you think you have the answers to takinbackdtreets’ questions, please by all means, visit the OpenCongress website at the link provided below and have-at-it. I will be sure to check for new posts on the OpenCongress blog to hear what you might have to say on this critical socio-economic issue.
OpenCongress S.3706 Comments