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.
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