Nov. 10, 2011 | The annual showdown over extending unemployment insurance for millions of Americans is part of life on Capitol Hill since Republicans took back control of the House of Representatives. It’s that time again.

Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee, along with Rep. Pete Stark, called for Congress to extend benefits slated to run out at the end of the year. The loss of an average weekly check of around $300 could eventually effect 6 million out-of-work Americans and over 300,000 Californians.

It was only a year ago that Republicans similarly opposed extending unemployment benefits. A they intend to do so again this winter. The issue undoubtedly will lead to another fight with Democrats. Republicans will likely use it for political posturing leading into a presidential election year.
“Congressional Republicans have done nothing to create jobs,” Stark charged last week. “If they fail to work with us and extend unemployment insurance benefits now, 305,000 Californians will lose their benefits in January. For these workers, their families and millions more around the country, failure to act is not an option,”

Republicans eventually compromised on extending benefits last year, but only as a concession to Democrats for extending the Bush tax cuts. Liberal howled over the deal and may be afforded the same level of consternation again this year.

Some believe the issue will eventually be resolved in part by recommendations made the so-called “supercommittee” of a dozen House and Senate Republicans and Democrats currently meeting in Washington. The group is charged with proposing a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion within an unspecified time frame. Unemployment benefits will likely compose some portion of the committees recommendations.