TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Jobless benefits losses lie ahead

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 7:14 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Hovering in the background of the “fiscal cliff” debate is the prospect of 2 million people losing their unemployment benefits four days after Christmas.

“This is the real cliff,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. He's leading the effort to include another extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed in any deal to avert looming tax increases and huge spending cuts in January.

“Many of these people are struggling to pay mortgages, to provide education for their children,” Reed said as President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, rejected each other's opening offers for a deficit deal.

Emergency jobless benefits for about 2.1 million people out of work more than six months will cease Dec. 29, and 1 million more will lose them over the next three months if Congress fails to extend the assistance again.

Since the collapse of the economy in 2008, the government has poured $520 billion — an amount equal to about half of its annual deficit in recent years — into unemployment benefit extensions.

White House officials have assured Democrats that Obama is committed to extending them another year, at a cost of about $30 billion, as part of an agreement for sidestepping the fiscal cliff and reducing the size of annual increases in the federal debt.

“The White House has made it clear that it wants an extension,” said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Republicans have been relatively quiet on the issue lately. They demanded and won savings elsewhere to offset the cost of this year's extension, requiring the government to sell some of its broadcasting airwaves and making newly hired federal workers contribute more to their pensions.

Boehner did not include jobless benefits in his counteroffer response to Obama's call for $1.6 trillion in new taxes over the next decade, including raising the top marginal rates for the highest-paid 2 percent.

Long-term unemployment remains a persistent problem. About 5 million people have been out of work for six months or more, according to the Bureau of labor Statistics. That's about 40 percent of all unemployed workers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. FDA proposes 1st regulations for e-cigarettes
  2. ‘Nightmare’ killing of 2 Iraqi youths detailed during military hearing
  3. Hearing to determine fate of sergeant accused of killing 2 deaf Iraqi boys
  4. Blue Angels accused of misconduct
  5. ‘Bionic eye’ allows ‘exciting’ sights for almost blind man
  6. Rulings on child porn cases divided
  7. Postal Service overhaul expected to appeal to Dems
  8. FCC nears vote on ‘net neutrality’ rules
  9. NYPD Twitter photo request fails as hashtag becomes bash-tag
  10. Rival Palestinian to make another attempt at uniting
  11. Justice Department’s new rules would offer clemency to inmates with no violent history
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.