Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced plans to kill the bipartisan unemployment benefits extension that the Senate has agreed to.
Citing a letter from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, Boehner says the program is not feasible and would take months to implement.
Ten Senators reached a compromise before the Senate left Washington, DC last week reauthorizing federal emergency unemployment benefits for five months. The bill would cover back pay for benefits that expired on December 28, 2013. It was fully “paid for” and introduced reforms that would end payments to wealthy individuals and give individualized aid to the long-term unemployed.
An estimated two million people have stopped receiving unemployment benefits since the program’s expiration. Experts estimate, if the program is not extended, an additional 1.6 million will lose benefits by the end of the year.
“Here we go again,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a press conference. “Months have gone by, and over two million people have not received their unemployment benefit on long-term unemployment. These families are in danger now of losing their homes. And why? Because of the extreme nature, the indifference, of the Republicans in the House to the needs of the American people – even after the Senate in a bipartisan way has passed a compromise with pay-fors.”
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated Senators would work to resolve Boehner’s concerns rather than let the legislation die in the House.
Time will tell if Boehner will come to the table. “We believe the concerns that have been expressed are resolvable and we look forward to Speaker Boehner coming to the table to find solutions,” said the spokesman. “It is hard to imagine Speaker Boehner simply walking away from the thousands of people in Ohio who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and need this lifeline to make ends meet while they continue to look for work.”
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