Stimulus bill failure will end unemployment benefits for over 1M
Job seekers wait in line to speak with prospective employers at a job fair in Chicago on Feb. 5, 2009.
TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Bill Radke: More than a million people will run out of unemployment benefits this week. That's after the Senate failed to pass its latest stimulus bill yesterday. Deficit hawks in the Republican Party voted unanimously against it, saying it would add to the growing federal deficit. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman joins us live to talk about what happens now. Hi, Mitchell.
Mitchell Hartman: Good morning, Bill.
Radke: This is a big change -- benefits have been extended repeatedly in this recession. What happens to the people who were getting those checks?
Hartman: Well, 1.3 million people who are long-term unemployed and who were counting on getting a full 99 weeks- -- that's nearly two years of extended benefits -- they'll start falling off the rolls and more will fall off every week from now on. Plus, there won't be a federal assistance package to states that are in budget crisis. That means they'll have to cut jobs, probably a few hundred thousand of them by one estimate. And a youth summer jobs program goes by the wayside. All this, of course, would have added about $35 billion to the deficit and raised some taxes, two things that Republicans just refused to do right now.
Radke: OK, no new taxes. Who avoided a higher bill from the IRS?
Hartman: Well, a few important groups: oil companies, some multinationals corporations, and hedge funds and real estate partnerships. One thing the Senate did pass: a separate bill that means doctors won't see their paychecks cut for treating people on Medicare, at least through the end of they year. Senate Democrats don't seem to have any appetite for bringing this stimulus bill -- the part with the aid to states and the unemployed -- back any time soon. They just don't want to get slapped down again by the Republicans.
Radke: Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman. Thanks.
Hartman: You're welcome.