Over 1.3 million people will lose their unemployment benefits tomorrow as their benefit extensions run out, according to ABC News, Dec. 27, 2013. The long term unemployed, who are victims of a variety of factors, including age, the economy, changing job markets and skill needs, etc., have been bailed out a total of eleven times beginning during the Presidency of George W Bush in 2008. The normal period for unemployment benefits is 26 weeks, but with the economy in as bad a shape as it has been and with the dwindling job market, both Democrat and Republican administrations have signed extensions, some lasting as long as 99 weeks.
Many of the long term unemployed have exhausted their savings accounts and live off very meager unemployment benefits as it is, scarcely enough to save anything for periods without any benefits at all such as the one that is fast approaching tomorrow. The current Congress did not extend the Federal Emergency Unemployment Benefits this year because many Republican members would not do so unless other segments of the budget absorbed those costs.
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is talking about a possible Senate vote to extend benefits for three months when the Senators return from their winter break on Jan. 6, 2014. However, many of the long term unemployed are worried about how they will make ends meet between now and then. One such unemployed mother, Kathy Biscotti of Baltimore, expressed her feelings that the Members of Congress live in the lap of luxury while remaining insensitive to their needs:
"They go home to their wonderful, expensive, lavish Holiday celebrations. and [they are] having a good old time and they're not worried a bit about us. They don't care about us, they don't care about us at all."
The next few weeks will be very telling with respect to the empathy and caring among Members of Congress and the Senate towards the needs of the terminally unemployed as this gravely unpopular Congress struggles to keep afloat politically in an election year.