A deal to renew federal benefits for the country’s long-term unemployed continues to elude the U.S. Congress. However, supporters of the effort, which include Democrats and a growing number of Republicans, are hopeful of a breakthrough in the Senate this week. There, Senators are looking at two proposals, one from each party.
Since the benefits expired back in December, several Senate votes have failed to generate enough support among Republicans for passage. Disagreements have centered on the length of an extension and how to pay for it.
Long-term jobless benefits apply to persons who have been out of work 27 weeks or more. Federal data released last Friday show that while the ranks of Americans out of work for less than five weeks has fallen, the number of long term jobless increased by around 200,000 last month.
Kildee says of the 2-million people who have lost their unemployment extension, 200,000 are veterans. He says they're disproportionately paying the price for the weak economy.