House Approves 3 Month Extension to Unemployment Benefits, Bush to Veto  

From AP (and no, still not a fan of AP for lots of previously stated reasons)

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 unemployment rate in May jumped to 5.5 percent, up from 5 percent in April. It was the biggest one-month gain in 22 years.

"The American people are waiting to see if Congress is going to help them," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

But the White House already has threatened to veto the bill, and Senate Democrats have said they won't try and force their Republican colleagues to consider the House legislation.


Okay, so Reid isn't going to waste several weeks battling over a bill that will never be considered (meaning that Republicans will block it by voting to continue debate, i.e., cloture), so Reid, has decided that he wants to make sure that unemployment benefits are extended, and what better way than to attach it to a bill Republicans won't defeat:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he will try to bring up the House bill, but he won't force the issue if Senate Republicans object. "We're not wasting weeks" on it, he said. Instead, Reid said, Democrats might attach the jobless benefits extension to the Iraq war spending bill, a move also opposed by the White House.


Nice, Reid, nice, I applaud your resolve to help American workers.

Of course, the article goes on to listen to the whining Republicans who seem to think it's okay to fund war, but not help out Americans like those in Van Wert who've been locked at by Kongsberg Automotive.

And just to be even more clear, how much are we talking in weekly benefits for these workers? Depends on what state you live in, for instance, if you are one of the Janesville GM workers who will lose your job due to the closure of the facility, you're looking at a weekly benefit of: $278.89 while the Moraine Ohio worker would get $299.55. But if you're one of those mortgage industry folks working in Mississippi, you can expect to receive $178.67.

Now for everyone thinking wow, that's free money, think of it this way, at minimum wage of $5.25 an hour and 40 hours a week, these same people would earn $210 a week. On the other hand, they are likely losing a job that paid $500 to $1000 a week with benefits and now, they're getting almost nothing with no benefits.

So, explain to me why it's okay to screw workers? I'm sure there's some great explanation about Market forces and how raising the minimum wage destroys the economy, but I have to wonder how many of these people talking about market forces have any idea what it's like trying to get by on $178.67 a week with no benefits. I'm guessing, there's no clue on their part.

You can check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics info on the Washington Post.

If you're in Ohio this weekend, head out to Van Wert

United Steelworkers of America Local 1-524 is organizing the rally set to kick off at noon at Fountain Park, located at Main and Jefferson.

Judy Grubb, union vice president, said the rally is a chance to boost morale for the workers at the Kongsberg Automotive plant who have been locked out since April 2. The company locked out more than 300 employees who had voted against ratifying the existing labor contract because the company sought to slash wages

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