U.S. House: Pass Unemployment Extension

Back on January 13 I wrote, “It’s really a no-brainer – the U.S. Senate and U.S. House should extend unemployment benefits. They should get it done this week.”

I was writing about the unemployment compensation that expired on December 28, 2013. It’s now been over three months since these folks (some two million people) last received a check.

The U.S. Senate finally passed an unemployment extension bill yesterday (April 7) by a 59-38 vote. For those keeping score in Montana, Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh voted for the bill. I applaud Tester and Walsh for their votes.

According to several reports, Speaker of the House John Boehner doesn’t like the senate bill so it may not even get a vote. Boehner has not brought forth his own bill.

This whole situation shows just how cold-hearted many who serve in Congress are – most have probably never had to count on an unemployment check to make ends meet.

The headline from Roll Call kind of says it all, “Unemployment Extension: Senate Passage Puts Bill in Boehner’s Court.” It can also be said that here in Montana, the ball is in our lone Representative’s court. Congressman Steve Daines (R-Mont.) should push for this bill to get a vote in the House, or amend the senate bill so that it will pass both chambers.

Daines has been in the U.S. House just a short time. Ironically, with little legislative experience, Daines could be Montana’s junior U.S. Senator this time next year, or he could be out of public service altogether. In my view he’s establishing a reputation as someone who is aloof.

Between now and the elections in November it would be nice to know that he actually wants to help people. Pushing for a vote on the unemployment bill could help.

So here’s a little suggestion for Mr. Daines: step down from your ivory tower for a few days and walk the path of those who make less than six figures per year. You might be surprised at what you would learn.


## END ##



  1. Hey Mark Wilson, where did you go?

  2. Mark,

    Sorry ti has taken me time to get back to you, I have been traveling this week. I think the best way to get people back to work is to make being in business stable. That would mean that the administration would have to tell/show them what it will cost them in terms of taxes and benefits. As a business owner, my net tax rate increased by 3% based on existing taxes. My healthcare costs have increased 28% compared to what I had last year and my out of pocket costs have increased by 500%. I am the National Sales Manager for a manufacturer of capital equipment that focuses on the food industry. I speak to 100’s of business owners about their future and what are their plans over the next 3-5 years. The prevalent answer is hold the line on spending and also not to bring on more people until they know what the ground rules are. If this administration wants to put people back to work, that would be an easy process. Just make it easier for business to do what they do. Business has an obligation to its shareholders to make a profit year over year. Those are people have investments from their 401k’s and savings accounts through lending institutions. If we get the unemployed people back in the in the workforce there won’t be a need to extend benefits and every person back in the workforce becomes a tax payer, or as i call them…contributors. . I would call that a win-win. Your thoughts appear to be focused on the Fortune 100 businesses but they are not the biggest employers in out country. Those businesses do not have a big fat wallet like you think. They are watching their margins shrink more and more. I would guess that with the pending increases in healthcare coming after they failed to get a valid pool of people to cover the costs, business will no longer be able to offer benefits to employees. They will be put into the individual marketplace. That will become the peoples burden. With the movement to double minimum wage will further erode the businesses margins. Lower margins result in less people doing the jobs so a business can make ends meet. Small business makes up 89.7% of employers with 20 or fewer employees. Those companies cannot afford to find the tax loopholes like the Fortune 500. So your argument about cash rich business doesn’t hold water.

    Jobs going overseas is a direct result of increased taxation and those companies that wanted to serve the international marketplace created business units in China, South Korea and Vietnam and many others. Mostly employing that countries people with American management. GM doesn’t build cars in America, but most Japanese and German manufacturers do here! It’s not just about saving taxes but being close to your market

    I don’t know anything about you but if you have a Blackberry, Samsung or Apple phone; you are supporting those companies for manufacturing overseas. But very few American jobs were lost…they never existed or they were redeployed overseas..

    I don’t believe that I am misinformed about the jobs market in the US. Last year I was in 32 states and 2 foreign countries, so far this year I have been in 16 states. While I hate to assume, i would guess that you live in Montana to take the time to read this blog. I can’t say what your exposure is to business and how it works or what you do for a living…maybe you get your news from main stream media or MSNBC and occasionally Fox News. If I have reached to far, I apologize. By the way, I watch them all, the business channels and read a lot.

    I can honestly say that the greater majority of campaniles out there are extremely ethical and hard working people. The US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. For business to be more competitive in the marketplace, they need a break. Cutting that corporate tax rates to a range of 5% to 25% would go along way to helping the job market and small business.

    and remember…don’t forget to stretch! I’ll look forward to your rebuttal.

    All the best, Barry

    By the wayc alling Boehner’s office was probably a true waste of your time…same for our elected officals from Montana, i am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I find them both to be the same enemy. I am most likely a Libertarian and a proponent of term limits.

  3. I called John Boehner’s office and was hung-up on when I asked his assistant to explain how his propsed job creating measures ACTUALLY created jobs when companies have record amounts of cash and liquid assets and those measures impacted those items. He huffed and puffed and told me that we had different views and then hung-up. I wonder why? I wanted to ask how those measure would affect the under-employed when productivity is at an all-time high, but never got to ask that. Is this the sort of responsiveness that we should expect from an elected official who holds a leadership position? Try it for yourself: 202-225-0600.

  4. Unemployment Insurance was designed to fill the gap between losing ones job and finding a new one. it was never to be a long term program. I heard the other day the our unemployment numbers are the new norm. What we really need is a policy to alleviate the burden of government on business, like reducing the corporate tax rates, so we can start to hire people again. Due to the Democrats position on healthcare and minimum wage, there is little incentive to add more jobs. Fix one and you fix the other. Obama and the Democratic leadership is too stubborn to relax their position.

    The other issue at the forefront is that there is no money in the budget to do this, so the Democrats want us to borrow more money to fulfill it wishes. The Democrats have a slush fund that could pay for this extension but they won’t spend it, they must have a better use for it! The out of control deficit is going to come back and bite our A$$ in the near future if we don’t fix our reckless spending and buying everything on credit…

    • Barry:

      Extensions in unemployment compensation should not be based on which party controls congress and the White House. To cut people off at Christmas was a little cold-hearted. There are still millions of people who have fallen off the books who quit looking for work and no longer file for unemployment, but the bozos in Congress don’t see that because it does not affect them.

      I wrote back in January that it should be paid for and you and I know they can easily find the money if they want to. They could cut their office budgets 10% or cut a percent or two from other programs. They can also cut committee budgets a lot, too.

      Thanks for commenting!


    • Barry, can you please explain how reducing corporate tax rates or any of the other policy excuses impact unemployment when companies have experienced record levels of cash and assets? Reducing taxes or any other of the policies which require corporations to be good citizens have only proven to pass to the companies’ bottom line, reduce employment and thus it is quite deceiving or misinformed of you to argue this position. What is even more deplorable though, is that those pundits of this doctrine, have the audacity to leverage the plight of the unemployed in order to attempt to gain what they refer to as job creating measures when in fact, those measures are primarily intended to create more profits for companies which have already received public assistance through grants or tax cuts. Why are they shipping jobs overseas when they have record amount of liquid assets while creating an ever growing working population of US underemployed? To attempt to leverage the plight of those who have been most victimized in order to further promote their policies of greed is an unethical as anyone can be.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: