Unemployment Extension 2015: Push For Extended Benefits Faces U.S. Unemployment Rate Improvement

Any hope that the long-term unemployed have for a 2015 unemployment extension is probably not going be fulfilled in the new year. Even Republican Senator Dean Heller seems to have given up and there’s been less of an incentive now that the U.S. unemployment rate has improved.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, predictions for 2015 already claim that income disparity between the rich and poor will dramatically change in the new year. Another warning sign is that Social Security Disability benefits may start running out as early as the end of 2015 and yet Congress does not have a solid plan to deal with the issue.

When Congress avoided another fiscal cliff by saving the Highway Trust Fund, they did so by using two methods that were intended to provide funding for the 2014 Unemployment Extension bill. This was the final nail in the coffin for the effort to have the bill passed since supporters could not find another way to fund it in the time left before Congress’ working year ended.

In 2015, Republicans will most likely be focused on spending cuts, not spending increases, so advocates for a potential 2015 EUC will need to come up with a payment method that greatly appeals to the GOP, never mind John Boehner’s job requirements.

Nevada Senator Dean Heller managed to convince fellow Republicans in the Senate to vote for the unemployment benefits extension bill back in April, but come December, Heller admitted, “I think at this point, leadership on both sides realize the votes just aren’t there.”

The consensus seems to be that lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, do not feel the need to expand unemployment benefits, even temporarily. John Hudak, a government studies expert at the nonprofit Brookings Institution, seems to believe a 2015 unemployment extension bill will be impossible.

“I don’t see any possible path forward for accomplishing that again,” Hudak said according to the Las Vegas Sun.

While the official U.S. unemployment rate stands at 8.5 percent, The Daily Signal notes that “almost two percent of the labor force is unemployed and has been so for at least six months.” Economists do not have an explanation for why long-term unemployment persists despite the unemployment rate improving nationwide, but it’s claimed the Great Recession cannot be blamed.

“The extension of unemployment benefits does not appear to be the answer. Nor is it merely a holdover from the Great Recession: Few of the long-term unemployed report being out of work for more than two years. The majority are still in their first year of joblessness.”

Do you think Congress should make an effort to pass a 2015 unemployment extension bill? Or do you think a different approach is necessary?