Unemployment extension fails to pass the House


Many of those affected by the failure of the unemployment extension bill are still sending out hundreds of resumes. Image: Flickr / wwworks / CC-BY

This afternoon, the House of Representatives failed to pass an unemployment extension. The unemployment extension would have added an extra 12 weeks to benefits. If Congress takes no action by Nov. 30, hundreds of thousands of people’s benefits will expire.

Unemployment extension basics

The unemployment extension bill that the House failed to pass today would have added extra time to the federal jobless rolls. State unemployment insurance usually covers 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. Federal unemployment extensions then kick in. Federal unemployment extension usually lasts about 73 weeks and continues to pay benefits to the unemployed. States administer the program, but the federal government funds it.

Unemployment extension bill fails

The last few times an unemployment extension has been on the table, the federal government has eventually voted to extend benefits. Six months ago, the House and Senate had a seven-week delay while they debated the $34 billion cost of extending unemployment benefits. Whenever Congress extend has extended unemployment, the extension was made retroactive, meaning those still on the unemployment rolls usually get all the money they would have otherwise.

The problem with unemployment extension

There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who face losing their unemployment benefits if the extension does not pass. Unemployment insurance is a system that was originally developed as just that — insurance if and when things go wrong. The unemployment extensions are taking a larger and larger toll on the budget as rolls grow. Some economic theory says that supporting the unemployed is an important part of recovery in a weak economy – having no money makes it tough to contribute. At the same time, others say unemployment extensions are costing far too much money, and the money would be better spent on encouraging businesses to hire.

Are you facing a loss of benefits because the unemployment extension did not pass?



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