[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/02/26/senate.jobless.benefits/story.jim.bunning.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Jim Bunning is being blamed for furloughing thousands of federal employees and threatening state jobs." width=300 height=169]
CNN Financial News Producer
More than 1 million Americans woke up this morning with a new and potentially devastating worry: they’re no longer able to apply for extended unemployment benefits.
Because the Senate failed to push back the Feb. 28 deadline to apply for this safety net last week, those without jobs are no longer able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.
Federal benefits kick in after the basic state-funded 26 weeks of unemployment coverage expire. During the recession, Congress approved up to an additional 73 weeks, which it funds.
These federal benefit weeks are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.
But because the Senate did not act, the unemployed will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.
That could spell disaster for those who are counting on that income. In total, more than 1 million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.
Lawmakers repeatedly tried to approve a 30-day extension last week, but each time, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-KY., prevented the $10 billion measure from passing, saying it needed to be paid for first.
Filibuster threatens highway jobs
Meanwhile, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today blamed Sen. Bunning’s filibuster for furloughing thousands of federal employees and threatening state jobs while shutting down highway construction projects nationwide.
"As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country," wrote LaHood, in a press release. "This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed."
LaHood was referring to Bunning’s filibuster blocking a bill that would, among other things, provide a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which is a federal fund set up to pay for transportation projects around the country.
As a result, Secretary LaHood says up to 2,000 DOT employees will be sent home without pay.
AIG selling Asia unit for $35B
Troubled insurance giant AIG has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Asian life insurance business to Britain's Prudential PLC in a deal valued at $35.5 billion.
The deal includes $25 billion in cash, which AIG says is the largest cash proceeds it's received from any sale during its current restructuring efforts.
The deal marks yet another step in getting AIG out from under the more than $100 billion it borrowed from the federal government beginning in 2008 to avoid collapse.
AIG’s CEO said in a statement that the deal will allow AIG “to realize value on a faster track to repay U.S. taxpayers” and will give the company “greater flexibility” with its restructuring plans.
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Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Unemployment
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So, when is the "right" time for elected officials to start behaving in a fiscally prudent manner? If not this bill, when will we begin attempting to live within our means? Remember, every spending bill benefits somebody, therefore, every spending bill held up hurts somebody regardless of whether the hold is for good and prudent reasons or just politics. So, where do we start?
They aren't clueless.. they just don't care. Bunning is soon to retire, and his income is locked. But even the jobless can vote... keep the republicans out of office.
I am very disappointed and amazed by Jim Bunning. He certainly does not have family members who will have their extended benefits running out soon. He probably drink expensive wine every night and enjoy his JOB very much by ignoring the very working American who have always paid tax on time and have contributed to this once Great country. Jim Bunning is not in touch of the working American families. Shame on Jim Bunning. Shame on Republican. I will not vote for Republican president, never ever!
Jim Bunning obviously has no idea what it's like to be on the other side of the paycheck , i.e. no paycheck at all. He's more worried about his basketball game than the one million people affected by the loss of unemployment benefits. He says the Senate has to find $10 billion to pay for the extension; where's his ideas? Let's take $10 billion from the Iraq war budget, bring our boys home (helping them and their families, too), and help our own here and now.
Why does he have a high paying job and not want to support us poor people who worked all our lives and have families to take care of. We have small babies and no money to feed them. Thank you
I thought in a Democracy it was what the majority of the people wanted rather than what a small group of politicans decide is best for the masses. Why are they in such a hurry when the bill doesn't even take effect for years?
Jim Bunning has to realize that this is just a job. Yes, he should feel passionate about his job, but do not act as if he was writing the check from his personal account. Taxpayers fund it. Hint, Hint.
They need to add a new tier I have exhausted my 4th tier extension as of last week,I am in college seeking more training...when are they going to step up and actually talk of a new tier...I will have to drop out of college and live in my car sad,really sad that we can help haiti,chille and not our own,owe I had a interview @ domino's pizza turned down again...anybody got any good news about a 5th tier or extension of the 4th tier.
Wouldn't the Dems. just need a 51 majority to pass this bill that Bunning is blocking? Or is that just the number for reconciliation? I think there is a lot of confusion, frustration and even anger out there as to the difference between this recently coined term "super majority" (60); the number to avoid a fillibuster and when the Senate's Majority should just use reconciliation like right now with Unemployment Insurance and Cobra Extension and Health Care Reform!
Wouldn't the Dems. just need a 51 majority to pass this? Or is that just the number for reconciliation? I think there is a lot of confusion, frustration and even anger out there as to the difference between this recently coined term "super majority" (60); the number to avoid a fillibuster and when the Senate's Majority should just use reconciliation like right now with Unemployment Insurance and Cobra Extension and Health Care Reform!
Jim Bunning had no problems spending money without knowing how to repay it when a fellow republican was in office, G.W." The economy destroyer" Bush. But now that it is for the good of the american people who needs this help, Bunning just can't do what needs to be done! I am tired of hearing republicans say, "it's what the american people want" but when it comes to what the american people NEED the republicans seem to be the most clueless!!