Congress Under Gun Over Unemployment Benefits

With Tuesday Midnight Deadline Looming, Politics Take Over

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — These are very tense times for more than 2 million Americans, including many in our area, who stand to lose unemployment benefits, expiring at midnight Tuesday. That’s unless Congress steps in.

Congress could be the Grinch that stole Christmas for hundreds of thousands of unemployed here. They say they’re worried and desperate for a way to make ends meet.

“Taxes, here, the way the rent is I need this unemployment to keep up, you know?” Harlem resident Danile Perez told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Kramer: “So the fact that you might lose all or part of it, how does that make you feel?”

“I want to hang myself,” Perez said with a laugh.

“Christmas is coming up, people got kids. I feel like the privileged is very lucky right now. They don’t have wake every morning worried about how they’re going to feed their kids,” added April Negron-Burney of Harlem.

Unless Congress acts, extended unemployment benefits will expire at midnight Tuesday for some 400,000 New York residents, 275,000 from New Jersey and 58,000 from Connecticut.

And with the unemployment rate at 9 percent officials say its tough to find work.

“We’re going into the holiday season. These people are just scraping by as it is and to suddenly run out of unemployment when the job market is still so bad … there’s still only one job available for every five people looking for work. It would just be devastating,” said New York State Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner.

But on Capitol Hill the debate will be laced with politics. Democrats want to extend the benefits.

“I think it’s a moral issue, Marcia. This is something that is urgent, an urgent crisis. It’s emergency spending,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said.

But Republicans under pressure from the newly elected Tea Party members are taking a hard line.

“We have to set the tone now and make it clear that whatever we spend we have to offset it with a cut somewhere else. Otherwise we’re going to be constantly locked into this cycle of more spending and always finding an excuse for not making spending cuts,” Rep. Peter King said.

But labor officials point out that the economic recovery of the region could suffer a terrible blow if the benefits aren’t extended. In New York alone unemployment benefits add $10 billion to the economy.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • Anne Eby

    The whole thing is that our economy SUCKS!!!! Fine they dont want to continue benefits..then create jobs like they did years ago….put us unemployed to work on roads that need repair , as cooks in soup kitchens, anything but do something before we are back having shanty towns popping up or tent citys that are already popping up like in Nevada. And as to their comment of cutting money from other places…well lets try bringing our troops home and having them sheer up our boarders and get rid of all the illegals who are draining our systems and our jobs……and the AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO STAND UP AND HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD!!!!

  • UEandterrified

    All i can say is we should all be as perfect as you!!! I am an LPN who has paid in more taxes than most for 35 years and no i can’t find a job, so many that are younger (i am 49) and they don’t have to pay them as much, i would gladly work for whatever i could! Healthcare has been hit just as hard, they are afraid to hire due to the recession so they work shorthanded. For which you would see if you have to go into the hospital or to an ER. All I can say is your comments are BS and show total stupidity!!!

  • Sean

    You may be surprised to learn that a high percentage of the unemployed are very educated. The simple fact even if you look for work 7 days a week there are just not enough jobs out there. Congress needs to recognize that the majority of people are going to need more then 26 weeks to transition their lives to new careers.

  • GuyFriday

    What’s the difference? Most of the people on unemployment will turn around and apply for food stamps, heating assistance, free medical, free phone, free cell phone, housing assistance, free health club memberships, more student loans, pell school lunch.. Maybe come out further ahead than what $350 a week on Unemployment might pay.

    • Rebecca

      That’s messed up for you to say because. Not all Americans who are unemployed want to be on welfare !!

    • UEandterrified

      You idiot!!!!!! Not all of the unemployed qualify for food stamps. etc. My last ue check was last week, i don’t know how i will buy food, medicine, etc much less keep the electricity on. I’m not thinking about Christmas, i’m thinking about food and warmth. How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow with nothing to eat, no way to get it and no electricity? And absolutely no job prospect. Your and many like you just show total and complete stupidity, if you have a job i don’t see why with such ignorance!

  • NIKI


    • Dawn

      Lets see the congress people raise there hands and say we will not get pay raiises for 2 years etc. I never see that.

  • Kim


    thank you for your comment. I apologize, I didn’t mean for my original comment to sound like I was disrespecting veterans. my husband is a vietnam veteran and we are currently fighting with the VA to grant what he is entitled to for his many service connected illnesses. anyone who has ever dealt with the va and their claims system knows how much fun that it. but then, that is just more government bs too. just like the unemployment has become.

  • Winston

    we are living in Critical times hard to deal with, bible prophecy (2 Tim. 3:1-5) Yes the Son of God is coming for the betterment of mankind. Keep on the Watch.

  • dtk

    DanTe, are you feeling better now that you have completed your cyber-bullying quota for the day? Hmmm?

    Give it a rest, fool.

    • DanTe

      Oh yes. Speaking out against being robbed by you lazy thieving parasites is “bullying”. Any other politically correct catch phrase you thieves want to use?

  • greg

    I didn’t vote for Obama.. Well maybe Technically I did.. I am a conservative who thought McCain was a wishy washy liberal. I guess a write in vote was probably a vote for Obama anyway. I voted for a few local races, but when it came to President I wrote in Paris Hilton.

  • Greg

    I guess Americans would rather see 500,000 more homes go into foreclosure, 750,000 cars go into repo, and 1,500,000 credit cards go into default. Americans would rather pay 800 billion in additional bank bailouts than pay for a 26 Billion dollar Unemployment extension.

    • Greg

      My home is insured by FHA. If I can’t afford it, YOU WILL BE THE ONE TO PAY FOR IT. That amount will be much more than paying me a few grand to get by another month or two.

      How do you know the banks made several billion from the bailouts? The Federal Reserve loaned 2 trillion to banks, and won’t disclose where that money went. Not even to our President.

      No I am not a Liberal, I am a hard line conservative. I am on 26 weeks of Unemployment. I worked for 26 years. Paid my taxes, supported this system. When I became unemployed, I knew I wasn’t going to find something right away. I enrolled myself into college, enough credits to reinvent myself and find another part time job. Hopefully in 6 to 8 weeks it will be a full time job. Say whatever you say about leeches.. I don’t like unemployment as much as you do, but I have goals and will eventually achieve them.

    • DanTe

      So now it’s just outright extortion?


  • Kim

    •So much for the school helping me get a job. and while congress is out enjoying their big swanky Christmas holiday, millions are about to or already have run out of unemployment. meanwhile, I have to explain to my 10 year old why I can’t buy her anything for Christmas.

    our gvnmt is quick to aid every other country in time of crises. but drag their heels when it comes to their own, tax paying citizens. GO FIGURE!

    • DanTe

      Boo Hoo. Boo Hoo.

      You spent that amount of money learning the same useless trade that got you nowhere? Didn’t pick up bookkeeping, licensed practical nurse, or any other profession that would pay and is hiring? Nope, just stuck to the same old craap that landed you in the unemployment line.

      Boo Hoo. Boo Hoo.

      • DanTe

        If I din’t spel rong, imbeciles like you wouldn’t have anything to nitpick on. Twit.

        As to unemployed. Sure. Guess what, we FOUND JOBS. ANY jobs to pay the bills. Freaking lazy Parasites. Two years on the dole and you want more money.

        Here’s a hint: DIE OFF. Preferably before you’d spawned and further contaminate the gene pool with your infestation.

      • NICE!

        Question for you is.. Have you ever been unemployed or know someone who does? Must be nice to be a bully behind the computer screen. I really would strive to be that and pick on people….My job of choice….NOT……and learn how to S..P..E.L..L….

  • Kim

    I have even applied for seasonal jobs at department stores, pet stores, gas stations, etc. they won’t give me the time of day because I am “overqualified”. it seems like it doesn’t matter your experience or qualifications, if you don’t fall in the right criteria for race, age, gender, veteran status and disability status… your resume doesn’t even get looked at.

    • NICE!


      Good luck to you. I am a Veteran and have been passed over for jobs as well. I am going to school full time as well as working part time. I hope that you do find something soon.

      Take care.

  • Kim

    my background is in processing medical insurance claims. 15+ years. I even enrolled in school first part of this year and am now an additional 15K in debt for that. Major was medical billing/coding. now that I am done with school I still cannot find work. I graduated and now have a state certification for Certified Professional Coder.

    And why does it seem like almost every online application now asks my race, sex, if disabled and veteran status. I am white, not disabled and not a veteran. Guess that leaves me at the bottom of the barrel.

  • worried too

    I just feel sorry for all the babies out there with their parents not having anything at all for food or even 1 present. I know there is not many jobs out there at all. And the ones leaving the “put down” comments obviously have a job and don’t know how it really is…………
    another thought is alot of these people with babies will just have to sign up for welfare and food stamps with the government paying for those…….

    • DanTe

      If illiterate, non-English speaking Mexicans have jobs, why can’t you? Oh, you’re MUCH “better” than them, right?

      • michelle

        They get paid cash and about 3 dollars an hour. Tell me how I can afford to feed my daughter with that. Maybe if people would stop hiring illegals I would have a job.

      • Greg

        haha.. Most Mexicans here are working for a dollar an hour.. FACT.. I will probably have to undercut myself to 50 cents an hour to take away a job of a Mexican. I am confident Conservatives will do NOTHING to kick the Mexicans out.

      • DanTe

        “why do u have to hate?” Because parasites stealing my money via “social” taxes are hateful little maggots?

      • worried too

        I’m no better than anyone… why do u have to hate?
        God bless ;)

      • Greg

        Why undercut yourself to 50 cents an hour? You can make more money collecting cans on the side of the road.

      • DanTe

        It’s amazing how their “50 cents” an hour supports an entire family here in America. Here’s a hint: If you have to LIE to make your point, you have NO point.

        But I guess you can’t say anything if it isn’t a lie, can you?

        Thanks for proving my point, Parasite!

    • jack

      From all the comments I been reading online past few weeks,, they going to be stealing more than just your social honey…….. will have to keep everything locked up more than ever now.

  • michellep

    If I don’t get the money i don’t know what I’ll do. Christmas is looking pretty bad for my five year old right now. I’ve been looking for over a year. I’ve sent out almost 500 resumes, and nothing.

  • Lazy Parasites.


    • Greg

      There are a good number of Lazy parasites out there who can spoil any election.

      • DanTe

        Yeah, like when you voted in Obama? Or how about Cuomo?


        I voted for those two also. Just because I know the dumbacrats record of hosing you libturd parasites over. And they didn’t disappoint.

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