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Unemployment Extensions for Jobless

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  • Democrat
    Las Vegas, NV
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    Dear Ed Schultz:

    I was so impressed with your show last week wherein you were "pulling" for the unemployment benefit extensions that were cut-off to millions of Americans and went on to state that now, five (5) weeks later, the President's urgency and the moral thing to do for the American people is to extend these benefits were so important that five (5) weeks later. Nothing.
    On December 27, 2013, it was agreed amongst the Senate that it would vote to have the Unemployment Insurance Benefit extensions restored for three (3) months, while Congress "ironed" out other ways for the long-term unemployed to get "educated", etc., partly because the Republicans were against the extensions unless it was "paid back". (Which that in itself was ridiculous, because in the 8 years the program was started, it did not hinder the deficit one dollar. In fact, statistics showed that it actually put more money back into the economy which in turn improved the deficit.
    As promised, they voted after their 10 day holiday recess on January 7, 2014. Senator Harry Reid had lured five (5) Republicans to vote for the Bill to pass to restore the unemployed their benefits for 3 months. They needed 60 votes for the Bill to pass. The Senate voted 60-40. It passed, right? Wrong.
    Well, that evening, all the "drama" started. Now it had to be passed by the House which would take it up the following week. Blah, blah, blah. And it went on and on and on until the State of the Union address. President Obama on his website, even went public to vow that "He" was going to override Congress because it was morally incorrect to keep unemployed Americans out in the cold, while they bicker day after day.
    The last vote that was taken, on January 15, 2014, for these extensions to be restored was naturally 55-45. Not enough votes to pass. Partly because of the Republicans "outrageous" requests in their Amendments to pay for these extensions. Then we had Harry Reid, on camera, taking the amendments and throwing them on the floor and going on record stating, "that what Republicans wanted was absurd and he was not even going to read them because they were a waste of his time." (Congress recessed 10 days) However, before their 10 day recess they again voted for the 3 month emergency unemployment extensions, they took another vote. (Of course, the Senate needed 60 yay votes for the Bill to pass.) Naturally the 55 Democrats voted "yay" 45 Republicans voted "nay". It was 55-45.
    After reviewing the transcripts that are published every day on the "Legislation.gov", to my surprise, after reviewing the "yay" "nay" votes for this extension on January 15, 2014, Democratic Majority Leader, Harry Reid, voted "ney"! What? The Republican from Nevada voted "yay". The only one. It was our own Democratic Majority Leader that voted "nay". I'm sorry but wasn't he (Reid) suppose to be the one supporting this issue to begin with?
    Needless to say, the State of the Union (joke) was all "Hollywood Hoopla" as expected. And now that it is over, what did President Obama do to "get his pen and phone ready" to sign an Executive Order to renew these benefits. Not a thing.
    It was bad enough they abruptly cut-off (1st time in 36 years of my working life) unemployment benefits at Christmas time, but then to keep the hopes of millions that they would be restored, day after day after day.
    Do they not have the "guts" to go on television and tell the American people (whom were cut-off) that they were all used as pawns in their "political gains" for electoral votes? Because I believe this whole charade of cutting the unemployed off, to drop percentages of unemployment rates, was for political gain. In order that the President could say to the American People, that the economy is improving with unemployed dropping over 1.0% in the last month? Is that all we are to these politicians, numbers. Lives that can be played with this way to get numbers recorded for upcoming elections?
    This literally has affected me personally, and I take this act of Congress' circus acts very personally and literally makes me sick to my stomach that our own government could play with people lives in this manner. I have never followed politics as closely as I have been and everyday, every transcript I read of what really goes on behind closed doors, is preposterous. They (politicians) the Democrats and Republicans have made laughing stalks out of the American People.
    Also, I'd like to point out that President Obama made no reference what so ever as to thousands that were picketing outside the Whitehouse steps for UI Benefits, the Veterans, etc.
    Has our government become so corrupt that the people's voice means absolutely nothing anymore?
    I thought this was a country of the free. However, after what has been done to me personally, and watching the charades of actors on the Senate Floor in the past few weeks, make me believe that this country is no better than any other communist country where the government governs the people's welfare, way of life and well-being.
    Not that this will letter to you will change anything, I just had to vent to someone whom I believe was "taken back" with Congress' lack of moral responsibility to the American People. The past 8 years, this same exact Bill was passed in one day and people were receiving their checks 2 days later.
    Of course, the first time in my life I have had no choice but to file for unemployment to survive because the job economy absolutely sucks, the politicians decided they were going to use the unemployed people as pawns for the charts, ratings and polls and cut-off life-lines for millions of unemployed Americans as myself.
    Would like to add, I love your show. Doesn't matter what the topic is, you definitely get your point across. Does it do any good? Unfortunately, in my case, no.
    Sincerely,

    Karen Hunt
    (Disappointed Unemployed American)

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Karen --

    We certainly share your frustration with Congress in not getting unemployment benefits extended. It would seem that everything is held up for ransom, and the millions of people like you who are suffering in this slow recovery are the victims.

    Regarding Harry Reid's "no" vote, this is procedural...another one of those crazy Senate rules that says a member from the winning side in the vote must vote no in order to bring the legislation back on the floor at a later date.

    Dylan Matthews explains it in this Washington Post Wonk bloog post: Why is Harry Reid always voting against his own plans?

    "As Sarah Binder, a Senate rules expert at George Washington University, told me, it's not that the majority leader has to vote no. It's that somebody on the winning side of the cloture vote — in this case, the side voting against cloture — has to file a "motion to reconsider" if the matter is to be taken up again. "I suppose the broader parliamentary principle here is that it would be somewhat unfair to give someone on the losing side of a question a second bite at the apple," Binder explains. So the rules provide for senators whose opinion has changed to motion for another vote, whereas those whose opinion stays the same don't get to keep filing to reconsider.

    "Reid, and other majority leaders before him, have developed a clever workaround: Just change your vote at the last minute if it looks as though you're going to lose, then move to reconsider. In theory, any supporter of the bill or nomination in question could do the same, but traditionally it's been the majority leader."


    It doesn't make sense to me but Harry Reid as majority leader does it often, and he takes the heat for it by those that don't understand the rule.