More than 3 million people throughout the U.S. could lose their unemployment insurance next year if Congress cannot breach an impasse that has stalled the legislative process. Federal lawmakers are currently deliberating on how to extend the federal insurance benefits program given the rising costs seen within the system. The 2008 recession has had drastic effects on the nation’s workforce, pushing many out of jobs they have had for decades. Unemployment reached record highs throughout the nation, putting immense financial strain on the unemployment insurance system. Legislators have yet to figure out how to offset these costs.
Throughout the year, the issue has been pushed behind other legislative concerns that have taken up the majority of Congress’ time. The matter will not be resolved until next year, as Congress has adjourned for its traditional holiday vacation. Congress will not reconvene until January 5, 2012. By that time, more than 2.2 million people may see their unemployment benefits cut off as the federal program expires at the end of this year.
The common thread amongst federal legislators is that money cannot continue to be spent to aid the unemployed who have not been able to find work for more than 60 weeks. Others, however, claim that unemployment insurance is good public policy as it keeps the economy from entering stagnation and prevents the jobless from having to fall back on other federal programs that will end up costing the government even more money.