1.3 million jobless Americans will no longer receive federal unemployment payments if Congress fails to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program by the end of the month.
EUC, which expires on January 1, “is a 100% federally funded program that provides benefits to individuals who have exhausted regular state benefits.” Currently, EUC kicks in for the 1.3 million Americans who have been unemployed for over six months. If Congress does not renew the program, jobless individuals will only be able to collect state-administered unemployment benefits for six months.
Many politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, are pushing to renew EUC. But there is one Kentucky Senator who opposes extending the benefits: Rand Paul.
Paul said on Fox News Sunday, “I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they’re paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.”
Still, many of Paul’s Republican colleagues disagree and believe EUC must be renewed.
Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY) is leading a group of House Republicans in an effort to extend the program.
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) also supports a renewal, but only if it is done in what he considers to be a fiscally-responsible manner. He said, “It’s about $25 billion that no one was talking about … until the last week. So it’s an additional cost within this budget agreement. I think the thought always was that it would be handled separately.”
If EUC is not renewed, it will leave 1.3 million Americans in a very uncomfortable situation. On the other hand, however, longterm unemployment benefits can sometimes take away incentive to hustle and find a job. As Rand Paul said in 2010, “You get out of a recession by encouraging employment, not encouraging unemployment.”