All In   |  December 09, 2013

Jobless need help from Congress before Xmas

Five days -- that's how many days Congress has to get its act together to pass an extension of unemployment insurance. 

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes . five days, that's how many days congress has to get its act together to pass an extension of unemployment insurance .

>> 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, and it really, while it seems good, it actually does a disservice to the people you're trying to help.

>> i mean, first of all, almost no one is getting 99 weeks. federal unemployment insurance benefits kick in after a person's state benefits run out and range between 14 to 47 weeks, depending on the state, but senator rand paul is trying to provide a gop rationale for allowing those benefits to expire. without the extension, far too many americans are headed toward a cruel holiday surprise. of course, it does not have to be this way. congress is in session today, and if they wanted to, by the end of tonight, they can get this done. and so, we present the latest installment of our "all in bizarro congress" series, a look into the alternate reality in which those republican lawmakers actually do their job for the american people .

>> the house has voted to extend unemployment benefits and with bipartisan support.

>> the question's on passing. the ayes have it.

>> today, house republicans finally saw the practical, positive implications for all americans and voted to extend unemployment benefits . as in so many other times of elevated, long-term unemployment, this was a bipartisan vote. republicans were emphatic about how rough this economy is for working people .

>> let's put people before politics and let's put this country back to work.

>> the bill will next go to the senate, where its passage is all but assured.

>> this is an opportunity for the senate to return to the finest traditions of this body, where we listen to and fight for the american people .

>> democrats who have long championed a benefits extension cheered the house's actions.

>> i've congratulated the republicans.

>> the republicans stepped up and acted as adults.

>> i do want to commend both sides of the aisle for working so hard towards an agreement.

>> had congress failed to act, 1.3 million people would have lost their unemployment benefits just three days after christmas. emergency unemployment compensation , the law which extends unemployment benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks, was actually signed in to law by president bush in june 2008 . the unemployment rate then was just 5.6%. in the 5 1/2 years since, nearly 24 million workers have received extended unemployment benefits , according to the labor department .

>> i was able to support myself because i received those vital unemployment insurance benefits.

>> that money goes right back into the economy, spent on necessities like food and clothing.

>> we had a victory today for the american people , and frankly, we also had a victory for common sense.

>> without today's extension, the economy would have generated 240,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2014 , according to an estimate by the council of economic advisors . and economic output would have been affected by as much as $26 billion through 2015 , according to the congressional budget office . some have raised concerns about long-term benefits creating a disincentives to find work, but according to jpmorgan, hundreds of thousands of people would just give up and drop out of the workforce completely if extended benefits weren't in effect to keep them looking. today the house took a big step towards helping the unemployed get back on their feet. democracy in action is