With the U.S. Senate poised to bring up a preliminary vote to extend joblesss benefits for more than one million unemployed Americans, Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar released a new report Monday making the Democrats’ economic case.
Klobuchar, vice chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, said the measure, which she is co-sponsoring, would help the economy by “helping families stay afloat while they look for work.”
Some Republicans have argued that it would encourage some people to give up looking for work. Others have said they could support an extension, as long as it’s paid for by other budget cuts. Even if Democrats find the 60 votes needed to head off a potential GOP filibuster, it remains unclear whether the measure might come up in the Republican-controlled House.
Both Klobuchar and fellow Minnesota Democrat Al Franken support the extenstion, which is expected to come up for a Senate vote Tuesday morning.
The Democratic report argues that the long-term unemployment rate is twice what it was when Congress last allowed federal unemployment insurance to expire after the recessions of 1990-91 and 2001.
Approximately 1.3 million workers lost all unemployment benefits on December 28th and, barring Congressional action, benefits will expire for an additional 3.6 million over the next year.