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Unemployment Benefits

January 9, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Congress is finally grappling with an issue it should have dealt with before members rushed out on Christmas vacation: extending unemployment benefits. There is bipartisan support for renewing the federal benefits that expired last month, cutting off aid to 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans, including more than 200,000 in California. Yet some lawmakers' comments suggest that they're not really serious even now about getting the money flowing again. At times of high joblessness, the federal unemployment insurance program provides up to 47 extra weeks of assistance to laid-off workers who have run through their state benefits while trying in vain to land a job. Some critics say the benefits prolong unemployment by discouraging idled workers from taking whatever job happens to be available or making it more expensive for employers to hire them.
January 7, 2014 | By Cathleen Decker
The frantic image-making by Democrats and Republicans as the 2014 elections loom rippled through the Senate debate Tuesday over whether to extend jobless benefits that expired late last year. For Democrats, who unanimously supported a procedural vote on the benefit extension, the issue offered an opportunity to come to the defense of a middle class still reeling from the economic downturn despite the abundant returns visited upon Wall Street. For Republicans, only six of whom crossed party lines to further the benefit extension, the day brought a renewed effort to tie jobless relief to Obamacare, the issue that they hope will stagger Democrats in the fall.
January 7, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - Legislation to resume long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million jobless Americans cleared a key hurdle Tuesday in the Senate, though final passage in the chamber, and ultimately the House, remains difficult. The 60-37 vote, among the first since lawmakers returned Monday, came as six Republicans joined Democrats to advance a bill extending benefits by 90 days. In a White House appearance shortly after the vote, President Obama criticized Republicans who contend that unemployment benefits sap workers' motivation to look for new jobs.
January 7, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Tuesday urged members of Congress to extend unemployment benefits for Americans who have been out of work for a long time, arguing that those unemployed are “not lazy” but victims of the country's economic crisis. Appearing in the East Room of the White House with more than a dozen unemployed people on risers behind him, Obama took issue with the argument that extending benefits will “somehow hurt the unemployed because it saps their motivation to get a new job.” “That really sells the American people short,” Obama said.
January 7, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Under normal circumstances, an up-and-coming academic might be pleased to have his work cited by a leading politician in the heat of a major policy debate. Not so Rand Ghayad, who will shortly be receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Northeastern University, and whose research on unemployment was cited admiringly by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in a recent essay about why extending unemployment insurance is a bad thing. The problem, Ghayad wrote in a piece for the Atlantic, is that his research implies just the opposite . Ghayad's research indicates that employers discriminate against the long-term unemployed.
January 6, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) abruptly postponed Monday evening's planned vote on extending unemployment benefits after a Republican complained that proceeding would be unfair because weather-related airline delays had prevented as many as 17 senators from returning to Washington in time for the roll call. Though Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) challenged Reid's plan to hold the vote, Democratic leaders thought Republicans were bluffing. Many of the absent senators were Republicans from the South and Midwest.
December 28, 2013 | By David Lauter
Some 1.3 million Americans, including about 222,000 Californians, lost jobless benefits Saturday as the federal program to assist the long-term unemployed expired. Here are six things to know about who is affected and why the benefits went away. Who lost benefits? Anyone who has been collecting unemployment for more than 26 weeks loses benefits, roughly 1.3 million people immediately. Several million more people are expected to hit the limit over the course of the next year; they would lose benefits at that point.
December 27, 2013 | By Maeve Reston
WAIMANALO, Hawaii -- With unemployment benefits set to expire Saturday for about 1.3 million Americans, President Obama on Friday pressed for Congress to act, calling two senators who have offered legislation that would extend them for three months. The president made the calls from his vacation home on Oahu to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, offering support for their proposal and praising them for “working in a bipartisan fashion” on a problem that he said would adversely affect the nation's economic growth and job creation.
December 27, 2013 | By David Lauter
Some 1.3 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits on Saturday as the federal program to assist the long-term unemployed expires. Here are six things to know about who is affected and why the benefits are going away. Q: Who will lose benefits? Anyone who has been collecting unemployment for more than 26 weeks will lose benefits. Roughly 1.3 million people will be affected immediately. Over the course of 2014, several million more people will hit the 26-week limit and will also lose benefits.
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