Help for the Unemployed — Benefits Extended - Editorial Comment

Union World edition: 
Mar 2010
page: 
4

Recent events in Washington, D.C. regarding the unemployed were horrific! One United States Senator, Jim Bunning (R- KY) objected to the passage of unemployment benefit legislation. His objection, under archaic Senate rules, stopped the legislation that would have extended unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of Americans. His action was callous and without any compassion or concern for the needs of unemployed Americans.
To make matters worse, Republican leadership insulted every American who is suffering unemployment due to the economic downturn. Republican leadership’s  stated objection to providing extended benefits to the unemployed is that such benefits are a deterrent in obtaining work. They believe that workers would rather sit home idle and collect unemployment benefits than find work which provides them with dignity and the financial means to pay their own way!
Fortunately, under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the Democratic-controlled Senate was able to maneuver around the one-man filibuster of Senator Bunning and enact this needed legislation.
Because of Senator Reid’s leadership the Senate passed, by a 62 to 36 margin, the Tax Extender Act which in addition to extending unemployment benefits, extended a program until December 31, 2010 whereby the federal government will subsidize COBRA payments up to 65% on behalf of the unemployed.
This legislation will provide great relief for those American workers who have been caught up in the economic downturn in what has so far been described by many as a “jobless recovery.”

Every American who believes in the adage, “Help Those Less Fortunate” should take note and realize that if the Congress was under Republican control, this legislation and the relief it provides to so many needy Americans would never have become law. Realizing this, they must recommit to participating in the democratic process and vote in every election at every level of government so as to insure their government reflects its compassion for their fellow citizens.