Some good news for the people who were left hanging this month (but no new benefits tier to help those who ran out entirely). But at least this will help some people, and hopefully it will pass uneventfully:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that the Senate would vote move forward with reauthorizing unemployment benefits on Tuesday morning, after the replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) has been sworn in.
Republicans and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson have been preventing a final vote on the bill because of its $33 billion cost. Reid said the GOP filibuster, which has prevented more than 2.1 million people from receiving checks, is designed to crater the economy. "They're betting on failure. They think the worse the economy is come November, the better they're going to do election wise," said Reid. "Almost two million people who are long-term unemployed. These are not numbers. They are people."
Congress allowed extended benefits for people who've been out of work for longer than six months to lapse at the beginning of June. Since then Senate Democrats have repeatedly failed to muster 60 votes to overcome the deficit reduction demands of the Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and the Republican party. In the final vote just after Byrd's death at the end of June, Democrats came up just one yea short.
And in other news, all the Republican senators have embraced the formerly-deplored position of Jim "Tough S**t" Bunning. I think I will start referring to them as "T.S. Republicans."
However, most voters are on the side of those without work:
Two national polls released Tuesday revealed that registered voters think it's more important to help the unemployed than to reduce the deficit.
Fifty-two percent of voters told CBS that Congress should extend unemployment benefits "even if it means increasing the budget deficit," including 35 percent of Republicans. Sixty-two percent of registered voters told ABC Congress should extend benefits despite concerns that doing so "adds too much to the federal budget deficit."
In a Bloomberg survey, 70 percent of voters said reducing unemployment is more important than reducing the deficit. But only 47 percent said Congress should reauthorize extended benefits, which in some states provided the unemployed with up to 99 weeks of checks.
A poll commissioned by the National Employment Law Project in June found that 74 percent of voters think helping the unemployed is more important than reducing the deficit.