Senate to Vote on Unemployment Insurance Extension
Government Must Address Real Issues Instead of Providing Temporary Fixes
(Washington, D.C.) – The Senate is expected to vote next week on a bipartisan agreement to once again extend unemployment benefits for Americans who have been without a job for more than six months, which had lapsed in December of 2013. The new deal would extend benefits for five months, retroactively providing payments to eligible beneficiaries from the start of the year, expiring in May. The agreement temporarily helps those out of work, but it does nothing to address the fundamental problem. Economic growth remains weak, and Washington is doing little to encourage strong job creation, which would offer workers genuine economic opportunity.
This Senate proposal offsets the estimated $10 billion cost of these benefits by extending fees on imports and "pension-smoothing," but many in the House of Representatives are concerned that it includes no job-creation provision. The extension comes at a time when cost of living has been steadily increasing. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provided monthly analysis of consumer prices confirming an increase in food costs, in line with a USDA report earlier this year that estimated food costs would increase by as much as 3.5% in 2014, more than double the 1.4% increase seen in 2013 and more than the 2.8% average increase in food costs over the last 10 years. Without real economic growth, working families will have a hard time covering these rising costs.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
"We continue to see rhetoric about economic growth, but no real action. This is another temporary measure – another band-aid fix that does not address the real issues that are affecting the American people. Unemployment benefits are typically expected to last 26 weeks. These regular extensions that provide benefits for an additional 47 weeks may be turning it into simply another entitlement program, instead of the temporary safety net it is supposed to provide. As the long-term unemployed continued to suffer in this sluggish economy, elected officials need to debate proposals that incentivize job creation to move Americans back to the workplace. That's what unemployed Americans want and need.
The Senate can begin to work by reining in spending, cutting back regulations that are holding down our already stagnant economy and engaging in meaningful dialogue about the economic future of the country."