Legislation to bring back unemployment insurance for over a million long-term jobless Americans failed to clear the Senate on Tuesday, leaving no clear path forward.
Republicans complained Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wouldn't let them try to amend the legislation, and Reid responded that Republicans had been whining about procedure to obscure their opposition to restoring the benefits.
"The question is: Are Republican filibustering unemployment benefits or are they not?" Reid said on the Senate floor before the vote.
"This has obviously been fixed," countered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Benefits lapsed for 1.3 million workers on Dec. 28, thanks to congressional inaction. Each week since the lapse, another 70,000 laid off workers reach the end of their state benefits, which in most cases last six months, and find that the federal benefits that previously helped millions of workers won't be helping them. Lawmakers knew about the looming deadline for a whole year but did nothing until it was too late.
Marcia Carroll of Staunton, Va., is one the people whose benefits stopped last month. She said she'd lost her job as a warehouse materials handler in July. Since losing her unemployment insurance, she's already begun missing payments.
Memo to Republicans: Please do not insult me with your lofty pronouncements on poverty and inequality while you screw people who are still hunting for jobs.