It sure would be nice if the Republicans had a sudden attack of conscience and supported this, but let's be honest -- we can't even get all the Democrats on board for something like this. They're too afraid of Republican attack ads when they run for reelection:
WASHINGTON -- Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) are reintroducing legislation this week to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for "99ers," the long-term jobless who have exhausted their benefits and still haven't found work.
"The bill that I am introducing with Congressman Scott, The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act, would ensure that these long-term unemployed workers get the long overdue assistance that they need to support their families, make ends meet and contribute to our economy," Lee said in a statement. "Our bill would add 14 weeks of emergency unemployment benefits and would make sure these benefits are retroactively available to people who have exhausted all their benefits and are still unemployed."
Given Republican hostility to additional deficit spending -- Lee's office said the cost of the extra benefits would not be offset -- the effort will likely amount to little more than a reminder that long-term unemployment persists even though much of the nation's political discourse is focused on signs of economic recovery.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 1.4 million Americans have been unemployed for as long as 99 weeks. Of the 13.9 million unemployed, 43.8 percent -- or 6.2 million -- have been out of work for six months or longer.