Emergency Unemployment Extension Expected to Take Back Seat to Tax Extenders

On Monday, the House recess ends, and representatives will be returning to Washington.

Before the recess, the Senate passed legislation to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, supporting the retroactive extension of assistance to job-seekers who are struggling to find employment in a rough job market. In theory, representatives have spent the last two weeks in their home districts interacting with and getting feedback from their constituents, including on long-term unemployment insurance.

While the House was out, we learned a few new facts about the health of the middle class and the opportunities available to working Americans, all of which support the argument that working Americans are facing real challenges in getting ahead.

  • The American middle class is no longer the world’s richest. Increases in American middle-class income have failed to grow at the pace seen in other countries, and poorer Americans are even worse off when compared internationally. After-tax middle-class incomes are now highest in Canada, and other countries such as Norway and the Netherlands are catching up.

  • Working Americans are vulnerable. Forty-three percent of Americans say that if they were out of work for a month, they would encounter significant financial hardship.

  • The number of the long-term unemployed has remained unchanged at approximately 3.7 million. These individuals, who are defined as those who have been jobless for more than 27 weeks, account for 35.8 percent of the total number of Americans who are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Given these statistics and the ongoing hardships millions of Americans are facing every day, one would think that the House would be poised to act on the EUC extension with a sense of urgency.

So what do we know about the House’s schedule for the next week?

As politicians return to Washington on Monday, leadership in the House of Representatives has the ability to bring the extension of emergency unemployment compensation to the floor for a vote. The benefits would assist more than 2.5 million Americans who are actively looking for jobs but are unable to find them in a rough job market.

But Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is unlikely to bring the bill to the floor. While speaking to an audience after the Senate passed a bill to extend the EUC program, Boehner insisted that a new proposal be brought forward. Essentially, he told the Senate to start over. He also echoed previous comments that the package must be paid for (it is) and insisted that it include “things that would help get our economy moving” (without the bill’s passage, 240,000 jobs could be lost). Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are reportedly planning to meet with Boehner to discuss the bill.

So what legislation will the House be working on next week?

Tax extenders. An expensive collection of tax give-aways that overwhelmingly benefit corporations is expected to be the first matter of business for the House on Tuesday. These tax breaks include incentives for corporations to move profits and jobs overseas. Included in this package is the “GE Loophole,” which helped General Electric – a household name in the United States – to avoid paying taxes on $27.5 billion in profits between 2008 and 2012 by moving profits offshore.

The House majority seems more than willing to extend a helping hand to corporations, whose profits are at all-time highs, but for working families, House leadership continues to deliberately delay and obstruct needed assistance.


The following are resources to make sure politicians continue to hear your voice on emergency unemployment compensation (EUC):

  • Urge your representative to support the unemployment extension when the issue comes up in the House by entering your zip code here. You’ll be directed to a letter put together by the Half in Ten campaign.

  • Call your representative using this number, provided by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): 877-363-6141.

  • Share your story via our web form here, which we will share with representatives and journalists to highlight the urgency of renewing unemployment insurance.

  • Join our Google Group to share stories and resources with others who are either unemployed or passionate about the issue.

  • Stay in touch with the Center for Effective Government by signing up for our e-mail updates and action alerts here.

  • Find links to the Center for Effective Government's recent blog posts on unemployment insurance here.


For Further Reading:

Emergency Unemployment Benefits Bill Passes the Senate, Increasing Pressure on the HouseThe Fine Print blog, April 8, 2014

Stories of Americans Cut Off of Emergency Unemployment CompensationGovernment Matters, April 22, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Extension Expected to Take Back Seat to Tax ExtendersThe Fine Print blog, April 25, 2014

Technically Speaking: Making Sense of Discharge Petitions, Cloture and FilibustersThe Fine Print blog, May 5, 2014

Unemployed Americans Kicked Out of Capitol, Forced to Share Their Stories OutsideThe Fine Print, May 10, 2014

Six Months after Emergency Unemployment Benefits Expired, 2.8 Million Americans Left BehindThe Fine Print, May 20, 2014

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Welcome all to the EUC family! To all bloggers: This is a positive website for the Unemployed and supporters of our plight! This is not a forum for haters or people trying to stir up trouble by attacking other bloggers! Everyone is free to voice their opinions, but please don't be "the devil's advocate" and say an opposing view or lash out at others just for negative attention! We all need the EUC bill with retro to pass ASAP! We encourage everyone to share your thoughts and ideas! We are here for emotional support, but need to funnel all our negative thoughts and frustrations about this issue and the politicians into ACTION! Griping about how terrible the situation is, will not do any of us any good! We need to keep united and fight to get EUC passed! Most of bloggers are still on the previous article from Jessica Schieder on 4/8/14 (Emergency Unemployment Benefits Bill Paases Senate, Pressure on Congress). Slowly everyone will gather here! GOD BLESS US ALL!
I really feel for the families struggling now. We are fortunate that my husband has his job of 20 years and that's keeping the bills paid and food on the table (barely). I lost my job in July and collected 23 weeks of unemployment then nothing. I search every day, submitting several resumes daily and have had only one call back for an interview. It looks grim but I keep trying and our bills keep getting paid later each month. My income helps us pay our bills on time and get any necessities needed for my daughter or medical expenses needed. The dental work, glasses and medical work we all need got put on hold because we can no longer afford the deductible for our health insurance or it isn't covered at all (btw we pay $900 a month for only 3 of us!!). The extension would help immensely but now we're to a point where we're not sure when or how we'll be able to afford luxuries such as glasses or dental visits or physical therapy or paying bills on time without having to bargain with the utilities company to keep from getting shut off. Our story is minor compared to many families struggling, with either single parents or both parents out of work. Putting food on the table and keeping the lights on is impossible for some now and I wonder how they are surviving?? Probably with help from friends and loved ones... Why won't our government take a look at the real families of our country and shed a little compassion? It eats me up knowing about these tax extenders to make the rich richer and the money we send to other countries to assist. The corruption that occurs after this money is received is completely insane and once again, the rich get richer. Boner (not misspelled) needs to stop bargaining for the rich and start working for the people. I don't think it's going to happen but I can dream. I know how I'll be voting in November. .
Anonymous 6:29: Thank you for sharing your story with the EUC family! It is pathetic what our government politicians are doing (and not doing for us) to us! They are pissing off over 3 million voters (numbers are rising at an average rate of 70,000 each week)! This country has got to change and make being a politician (Senator or House Rep) a calling and not a "gravy-train job." We need regular folks, not wear got businessmen/attorneys in office! They should get paid for when they work like we do without all the unnecessary perks and vacation time! They should get a basic good salary (like $50,000). When they leave office, their salary stops (duh). These idiots get lifetime pay, benefits, and retirement when they are elected for 1-term! The politicians should have to be under any law they pass for us! They should not have special medical, retirement, and private school educations for their kids. They should not get to vote themselves a pay raise every year! Any law that they pass for us should be good enough for them! If the politicians work for US, then we are their bosses! They don't get to be both the boss and the employee! The American people should be able to vote on their pay, raises, benefits, and their work schedule! Otherwise what is the incentive for the politicians to do a good job? How can we get this changed? The politicians are the ones making the laws! They aren't about to vote for these things that should change that negatively affect them!
The House is currently scheduled to be in for three weeks - a total of 12 legislative days - during May, according to the official calendar maintained by Cantor’s office. Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/eric-cantor-house-2014-agenda-106031.html#ixzz2zwTXGsUY
In addition, Cantor said the House would move on a tax extenders package that includes a permanent extension of a research and development tax credit. Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/eric-cantor-house-2014-agenda-106031.html#ixzz2zwTx5DCI
Does anyone know if the house will even consider the bill next week!!??!!!!!?
FYI: All you need to do is read Jessica's story above about the tax extenders.
Anonymous 7:04: It is impossible to follow these politicians "schedule." They have a calendar (Housedotgov). However, having experienced this on the Senate side when the bill passed, I tried to watch it some every day on CSPAN2. It is impossible to answer that question. They have a "guideline calendar," but things can change. We can only hope! We have to keep the pressure on them to do SOMETHING NOW!
Let’s apply this insight to the unemployment benefits debate. The federal-state unemployment insurance system was established in 1935 to serve as a safety net, providing temporary financial assistance to workers who lose their jobs. Initially, unemployment compensation benefits were to be funded by payroll taxes on employers. However, the system has evolved to using general federal revenues to pay for an expanded range of benefits. At first, benefits were to last 16 weeks, but were later expanded to 26 weeks, and over the years “supplemental” benefits have been added to the proposed span of 77 weeks and counting. Protecting workers from the vicissitudes of fortune may appear a noble idea, but there are unintended consequences. The first consideration should be whether shielding us from the vicissitudes of fortune is a legitimate function of government, but let us put that philosophical question aside for another day to focus now on unemployment insurance. Research shows unambiguously that unemployment insurance encourages individuals to remain unemployed longer by providing an incentive and the means to not work. To be clear, this is not a disparaging assessment. It is a factual statement of a logical human reaction to a particular stimulus. One reason is that unemployment benefits increase what economists label as a worker’s “reservation wage.” This reservation wage is the minimum wage someone insists on getting before accepting a job, and it takes into account the difference between the government benefits and the amount that would be paid by an employer. As a result of receiving unemployment compensation, workers may decline job opportunities when the job does not provide a significant increase in monies received. Other studies show that some workers may stay out of the job market to maximize the benefits received. This genre of research typically shows a sharp increase in re-employment just before unemployment benefits run out.
I see they want GE to have that huge tax break before taking care of any of us. How many are we? Over 3 mil. Not counting our extended families that still work. And our friends. We need to encourage everyone to stop buying GE. Our government seems to think they are more important then us.