Emergency Unemployment Extension Expected to Take Back Seat to Tax Extenders

by Jessica Schieder, 4/25/2014

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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This entire nation is headed towards unemployment there is a monterous depression coming in america and no one will escape it. not even congress. it will be 10 times worse than 1929.

Awesome blog.

I like this article and it makes me think about it more seriously and now i would like to sahre my ideas and opinion with other people also. thank you so much for this article sam

Why is this country wasting resources on the fucked up country called Iraq again. There are to many unemployed Americans who are fucked up because of Boehner. This country is fucked up. Foreign policy, domestic policy. What comes first? Nuts. Obama, step up to the plate. I voted for you. You are guilty of neglecting the unemployed too. Have you addressed this issue in the last several week? No. My state benefits expired in January of this year. There are many people like myself who never received the extension.

Desperate people will commit desperate acts. Human nature. Nice guys finish last?

I wish I could make everyone suffer who voted against EUC especially the House Speaker ... Bang Bang !!!!


Boehner is a cancer to the Republican party.

I now understand why someone would get involved with illegal activity out of desperation. Please know that I will never approve of such acts and I will never get involved with criminal activity. However, I can understand someone who plays by the books and follow all rules in trying to land a job without success taking an alternate approach in trying to provide the basics. It is just sad that the lack of government support will encourage people to take drastic actions to survive. Again, I am not one of them. I am just noting the inevitable.

All of the attention is being focused on the fucked up situation in Iraq. I am hearing that military aid is being allocated to that Mideast hell hole when the well being of unemployed Americans is being ignored. To hell with that artificially created country. The situation in Bagdad is not getting any better. Focus on the people between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Put funds to good use. Stop throwing money towards Iraq. It is a lost cause. Period.

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