The unemployment rate in America is improving, at least according to the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, but millions of people are still jobless. Families across the country have been relying on unemployment benefits to get through these difficult times.
Until recently, people expected their unemployment benefits to be extended. Many were counting on that money for their day-to-day survival. Benefit extensions were dropped with very little warning, causing an untold number of people to wonder how they would get by.
A New Hope
Republicans and Democrats have been debating about unemployment extensions for several months. The Democrats kept trying to get an extension bill passed, but they always lacked at least one vote. They finally got what they needed.
Carte Goodwin, a Democrat from West Virginia, was sworn in to the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2010. Within a few minutes he participated in his first vote, and the bill to extend unemployment benefits was approved. Fellow Senators cheered Goodwin on as he affirmed his vote with the simple word “aye.”
The Next Step
Now that the Senate has agreed to extend unemployment benefits, the bill will move on to the House of Representatives. It is expected to pass easily, and then continue on to President Obama’s desk. If the bill is approved and signed, it will extend benefits to people who have been out of work for more than six months.
Nearly 2.5 million Americans will once again receive unemployment compensation if this bill is approved. Millions more will have their benefits extended after they pass the six-month mark. All told, this bill is anticipated to account for up to $30 billion in payouts over the next year.
Wait And See
For now, we can only speculate about the future of this bill. It could still go either way. Even politicians who approve of extending unemployment benefits often disagree on where the money should come from. Some claim this bill will boost the economy through continued public spending; others fear it will only add to the already massive national debt.
Millions of Americans are suffering through extreme financial difficulties. Unemployment is up, people aren’t receiving the extended benefits they expected, and many families aren’t sure what to do next. People will be watching intently to see how this all works out.