It looks like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his
caucus leadership has broken a promise with jobless Americans. Before
the body went on recess, Reid said he planned to take up a bill
this week extending the filing deadline for emergency unemployment
benefits. Well, the Senate is back in session today and unemployment
insurance isn't on the docket. From The Hill:
fate of the measure is uncertain. At this point, the Senate probably
doesn't have enough votes to pass the measure, and it's unknown how the
House would react to changes.
Jackie Headapohl at MLive points out that any
major change to the bill would force it back to the House for another
vote, where passage is not assured -- this despite the fact that 74 percent of Americans think it's too early to cut off emergency assistance, according to a new Hart Research Associates poll (PDF). Meanwhile, the severity of the
long-term unemployment crisis is growing. On average, the National Employment Law Project estimates (PDF) that current unemployed workers are without work for 34.4 weeks, or over eight full months. That's worse than the latest estimate from the Economic Policy Institute, whose data only extended through 2009.
UPDATE (6:20 p.m.): Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) tells the Hill that the Senate leadership is "close" on a deal to get the so-called "extenders" bill. It appears they will introduce it some time tomorrow.