Republicans Block Unemployment Insurance Extension for 4th Time

The Senate Thursday rejected yet another attempt to authorize extended unemployment insurance, falling one vote short of stopping a Republican filibuster that essentially killed the bill until after Congress' Fourth of July vacation.

As of today, 1.2 million unemployed Americans will stop receiving aid from the federal government, according to a report in the International Business Times.

The stopgap bill was the fourth attempt to revive unemployment insurance. To win Republican support, Democratic leaders slashed the bill's 10-year deficit impact from $134 billion to $33 billion, but Republicans still refused to budget from their "No" stance. "The only reason the unemployment extension hasn't passed is because our friends on the other side have refused to pass a bill that doesn't add to the debt," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Not true, according to The Washington Post. The only reason 2 million out-of-work Americans will have lost their unemployment benefits by Independence Day is because Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) died Monday, robbing the Democrats of the additional single vote they needed for passage.

The bill will be re-introduced on July 14, after the July 4 recess and when Byrd's replacement is likely to be named.

A more callous, uncaring Congress?
Since the 1950s, extended federal benefits have never been allowed to expire with a national unemployment rate of more than 7.2%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the current rate stands at 9.7%, and some business analysts predict it will climb another tenth of a percentage point, to 9.8%, in the latest federal unemployment figures set to be released Friday morning.

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