Congresswoman Barbara Lee, co-chair of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, voted against the recent extension of unemployment benefits because it shortened the maximum number of weeks a jobless worker could qualify.
“Instead of scaling back unemployment benefits we need to be adding weeks to help people get by when there continues to be four workers in line for each job,” said Lee.
She makes a hell of a point.
While most of the media has focused on the Democrats “pretty much getting what they wanted,” it has given short shrift to what this deal means for the long-term unemployed, currently at near-record levels, with 43 percent of unemployed people jobless for more than six months. Under the new deal they will receive fewer weeks of unemployment benefits than was available between the end of 2009 and last year, with the maximum reduced from 99 weeks to 73 weeks by September 2012.