A last minute attempt by Democrats to pass a 90 day extension of jobless benefit just failed to pass in Congress. Before the vote, which only sought a 3 month extension instead of a year long one, Steny Hoyer said: "I think every Democrat will vote for it. I'm hopeful that the Republicans will vote for it." However, since democrats brought the measure up as a "suspension" bill, meaning that it required the approval of two-thirds of the House to pass, instead of under normal house rules which would have allowedthe vote to pass, the extension failed. Therefore just like the last time this extension failed, look for up to 4-5 million unemployed to fall off EUC and extended claims over the next few months, with a hit of up to 2 million by the first/second week of December. To be sure, there was also a political flavor: as NBC reports "But with suspension bill now coming to the floor on the last day of votes before the Thanksgiving vacation, the vote will give House Democrats the opportunity to argue that the GOP blocked unemployment benefits for the jobless during the holiday season."
From the Associated Press:
Republicans in the House have blocked a bill that would have extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed beyond the holiday season.
The most recent extension of jobless benefits expires Dec. 1. Two million people will lose benefits averaging $310 a week nationwide by the end of the year.
The measure would have extended jobless benefits through the end of February at a cost of adding $12.5 billion to the nation's debt. Republicans opposing the measure said that the measure should be paid for by cutting unspent money from last year's economic stimulus bill.
Democrats brought the measure to the floor under fast-track rules that required a two-thirds vote to pass, so the measure fell despite winning a majority.
The bottom line is that billions in disposable income courtesy of Uncle Scam are about to be taken out of circulation. Now add the possibility that the Bush tax cuts may not be extended, and the economic picture could suddenly be turned upside down.