One house of congress (possibly) takes a step for decency
Here's some good news for a change:
Senate negotiators are close to reaching an agreement extending unemployment insurance benefits to the 2 million jobless Americans who have stopped receiving their checks since the program expired in December.
These people will get a nice packet of checks in the mail. They need it for all their back rent and mortgage payments so they don't get evicted. So, huzzah ...
The agreement will extend the unemployment insurance program for five months. The benefits affect the long-term unemployed who have been out of a job for at least six months. Because the new program will include retroactive benefits from December, the extension would expire for all beneficiaries in late May.
The agreement is similar to one proposed by Senate Republicans just last week, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, said Thursday.
A Senate deal is still far from guaranteed to pass the House, where Republicans have expressed opposition to extending the benefits. House Speaker John Boehner has insisted that he will not bring an unemployment insurance fix to the floor unless it is fully paid for and also includes a separate job-creation provision.
Yeah, whatever. It will pass the House if Republicans are worried they'll be punished in November for not passing it. It certainly won't happen because they have compassion or even because it will help the economy to put money in these people's hands. If they cared about that they wouldn't have cut them off in January.
I'm sure they'll want several pounds of flesh in return --- they understand how to leverage decency and humanity for their own purposes. But it could happen. Maybe.