ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Community Calendar

Saturday Sweat Fitcamp
11 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. Westerly

Soup & Sandwiches
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Westerly

Afternoon Tea Party
Noon - 3 p.m. Westerly

Mushroom Hunting
1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Hopkinton

Family Movie
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Charlestown

Free community dinner
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Carolina

Full of Grace Coffeehouse
7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Westerly

Early American Industries Association regional meeting
8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Westerly

"Steel Magnolias"
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Westerly

Yoga
8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Charlestown

... View all of today's events


Stay Connected


ADVERTISEMENT


Jobless held hostage by partisans in Congress


More than 3.7 million jobless Americans may be learning how it feels to fruitlessly search for work, find meals at a food pantry, and skip paying bills for the first time.

Out of work for six months or more, they are the long-term unemployed, about two million of whom can’t get extended unemployment benefits because House Speaker John Boehner won’t post a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate.

Federal unemployment funds traditionally kicked in once a worker exhausted his state benefits, typically after 26 weeks. But that provision wasn’t included in the budget deal that Democrats and Republicans agreed to in December, and now the Republicans are stonewalling.

The unemployed have become hostages in Congress’ partisan warfare. In the past, extended unemployment benefits were provided if the unemployment rate reached 5.6 percent, but House Republicans in campaign mode won’t budge even with unemployment now at 6.7 percent.

Boehner says the benefits must be paid for elsewhere in the budget, but the Senate bill does that. He says the extension should help create jobs, but it does that too, by providing income that allows landlords to get rent, and utilities and food stores to get paid. The benefits would add $408 million a week to the economy. That’s $25 million in Pennsylvania and $34 million in New Jersey.

Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa., is among those trying to use jobless benefits as leverage. He’ll trade his vote for support of the Keystone XL pipeline, a tax break for medical-device manufacturers, and a longer workweek. By his logic, big energy, big meds and big business are more important than people on the edge of financial ruin.

These are people who want to work. In fact, they can’t get benefits if they aren’t seeking employment.

Fortunately, other Republicans acknowledge that reality, including three New Jersey representatives: Frank LoBiondo, who is leading extension efforts in the House, Jon Runyan, and Chris Smith. The jobless must hope some sense can be talked into Dent and other Republicans soon because they can’t wait much longer.

This editorial appeared recently in the The Philadelphia Inquirer.



Back to ColumnGuest
Top Stories of the Week

Westerly man faces charges in bank robberies …
GROTON — A 32-year-old Westerly man, a bank robbery suspect in Groton and Waterford, appeared in two Washington County courtrooms today after being arrested by … more ...

Man sentenced 25 years in fatal hit and run …
STONINGTON — A 31-year-old former Westerly man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison, suspended after eight years served, following a conviction in a … more ...

Words of warning on legal marijuana …
WOOD RIVER JCT. — Three police chiefs, a prevention specialist, health care workers, an assistant to the Rhode Island Attorney General and a recovering drug … more ...

Police logs: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 …
Westerly John J. O’Malley, 34, of 73 School St., Westerly, was charged Monday on a bench warrant issued from 4th Division District Court. Stonington Anthony … more ...

Police logs: Thursday, April 16, 2015 …
Westerly Nicholas T. Field, 24, of 56 Spruce St., Westerly, was charged Tuesday with willful trespassing. Daniel M. Evans, 45, of 31 Summer St., Westerly, … more ...

Comments