Unemployment Benefits Extension Stalls in the Senate

KRA Corporation looks at the most recent development in the Senate regarding the extension of long-term emergency unemployment benefits.

What looked like a promising inroad to the extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefit that expired at the end of last year, was dealt a significant blow by the Senate minority last week.

Two separate procedural votes aimed at extending the current EUC program failed to make it past the 60-vote threshold. The first vote on the docket was a proposed amendment by Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, that would extend the benefit program until November which would be funded by an extension of sequester cuts until 2024.

The second vote on the 3-month extension, which originally had the support of six Republicans, failed by a 54-45 margin with only bill co-sponsor Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. remaining in favor of it.

The change in sentiment with regards to any extension seems to be based in the argument that there was no agreed upon payment provision for the programs. Another sticking point was the vote threshold for amendments (60) and the legislation passing (51), which Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, described as being “fundamentally unfair.”

This division in the Senate has severely hampered the likelihood of passage of any action that will extend long-term benefits, meaning that those 1.3 million Americans who lost their benefits in late December will be without any relief for the foreseeable according to some analysts.

With the Senate now unlikely to revisit the issue in the near future and more likely to focus on the details of a larger bill that will keep the government funded and open, any chance of extension legislation is becoming slimmer.

However, Senator Reid’s tactic of voting against his own motion to proceed enables him to bring up the bill for reconsideration if agreement is ever reached between the two sides.

KRA Corporation continues to remain hopeful that this benefit is reinstated to aid those unemployed jobseekers that rely on this benefit while they explore opportunities to find employment.

KRA Corporation also remains firmly committed to its mission of preparing job seekers for tomorrow’s global economy while lawmakers address this situation. Through our support of Federal, state, and local agencies, we will continue to design, develop, and operate performance-based workforce development programs aimed at improving both the lives as well as the communities affected by unemployment.