Because of Republicans blocking unanimous consent of a temporary spending measure over 200,000 people will have their unemployment benefits cut off on Monday. They might be restored retroactively, but many of these people are probably do not have spare money to hold them over. The Hill reports:
Starting Monday, more than 200,000 unemployed Americans won’t see jobless benefits they’re expecting because Congress failed to act.
The interruption in benefits will last two weeks at a minimum, according to Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), since lawmakers return from spring break on April 12.
As the two-week recess began, Congress was at an impasse over how to extend the emergency unemployment insurance program and other expiring provisions, including increased COBRA health insurance subsidies for the unemployed, the Medicare doctor payment rate and federal flood insurance.
Senate Republicans said the $9.3 billion, 30-day extension preferred by Democrats should be paid for, while Democrats said the bill’s cost didn’t need to be offset because the program was “emergency spending.”
Making matters worse, the Republicans are trying to play politics and blame the Democrats for the problem. They insist upon paying for this emergency spending now, but had no problems in the past with conducting the Iraq war or passing George Bush’s Medicare changes without funding them. They also have had no problems with the increases to the deficit caused by George Bush’s tax cuts which were initially provided to only the ultra-wealthy. Republicans have also blocked efforts to achieve a permanent fix to the flawed Medicare payment formula.
Harry Reid has scheduled a cloture vote for when Congress returns on April 12 but even if passed this delay can cause hardship for many who are now unemployed and dependent upon the benefits for day to day expenses.