Lauren Victoria Burke/AP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

House Approves Unemployment Extension; White House Threatens Veto

June 13, 2008 02:56 PM
by Cara McDonough
The House on Thursday voted to extend federal unemployment benefits by three months, but the bill is unlikely to become law.

30-Second Summary

Democrats pushed the bill through on a 274-137 vote, although the bill is not expected to pass in the Senate.

The White House has already threatened to veto the bill, which would extend federal unemployment pay for jobless Americans from the current 26 weeks to 39 weeks, if it gets through the Senate.

But Republicans believe the bill shows that Democrats are trying to get an election-year advantage by making them choose between an extension of unemployment benefits and President Bush’s position, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s an unfortunate spectacle to see the leaders of this Congress manipulate the extension of unemployment benefits into a partisan weapon,” said Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.

Other Republicans disagreed. “I understand some of the concerns about granting this extension of benefits, but I believe strongly that those concerns are far outweighed by the needs of struggling American families,” said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., who was one of 49 Republicans to vote with Democrats in support of the bill.

Party politics aside, unemployment numbers are undoubtedly going up. The jobless rate jumped to 5.5 percent in May, up from 5 percent in April—the largest one-month swing since 1986. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week increased by 25,000 from the week before.

“The American people are waiting to see if Congress is going to help them,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. The bill’s next step will be a Senate vote.

Headline Link: ‘House OKs Extension of Unemployment Benefits’

Background: Unemployment growing fast

Reactions: The SEIU, Republicans, Democrats

Reference: U.S. Department of Labor, guide to career transitions


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines