Extending Unemployment Benefits Stalls Due To Political Differences

From left to right: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX and U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston
Lawmakers considering the extension of jobless benefits have hit a snag. Politics seems to be at play, as Democrats blame Republicans for denying assistance to the unemployed, and Republicans say Democrats are blocking ideas to get Americans back to work.

The unemployment rate has declined in all 50 states and currently stands at 7%, the lowest since 2008. Houston Democratic Congressman Gene Green says maintaining that momentum will be a challenge.

"A lot of people are working now that weren't working last year or two years ago. But we still have those pockets of people who work at literally minimum wage jobs and barely get by and they need the SNAP program, and that's why it's a two pronged battle. We need to extend the unemployment insurance, but at the same time make sure that the food stamp, or SNAP program, is funded adequately for those folks who aren't getting their jobs now."

He thinks the economy might be too fragile to withstand changes to assistance programs like SNAP.

Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn says there are a lot of good ideas, instead of borrowing money to extend jobless benefits. He called on Senate Democrats to stop blocking an open amendment process that would allow all senators to propose legislation to help grow jobs and the economy.

"After we spent $250 billion dollars in unemployment compensation since 2008, do they really want to continue to borrow an additional $6 billion dollars for every three month unpaid extension of unemployment compensation — especially in light of the fact that we've already racked up 17.3 trillion dollars in our national debt?"

Woodlands Republican Congressman Kevin Brady says it's not how long Washington provides unemployment benefits, but how soon people can get back to work.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...