Extended unemployment benefits expired in December 2013 after Republicans in the House blocked an extension of the program. Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has proposed new bills that she claimed in a statement, “would not be necessary had the House adopted the amendment offered by the Democrats which have extended unemployment benefits.” She continued, “I strongly supported that alternative because we should not be depriving hard working job hunters of this compensation.”
Rep. Jackson Lee proposed H.R. 3888, the “New Chance for a New Start in Life Act,” which gives out grants to the unemployed that may be used to pay for “job training.”
H.R. 3773, the “Unemployment Benefits Extension Act,” would additionally “extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) for 12 months, until January 1, 2015.” Jackson Lee asserted, “For many Americans, this extension is a necessity of life.”
Critics claim that extending unemployment benefits does nothing to fix the core problem. Furthermore, some assert that unemployment benefits may even make the problem worse, by causing people to become relatively comfortable remaining in poverty. The incentive to hustle for a job is diminished when you can sit at home and collect a check every month.
Republicans have said that they would support an extension of the benefits if its cost were offset by other cuts in the budget. Senator Rand Paul said the most effective way to help unemployed Americans is to lower taxes and allow businesses to flourish — then, presumably, more jobs would be created.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz and 39 other senators, mostly Republicans, voted against extending long-term unemployment benefits earlier this month.