The good news about the economy is that we added 162,000 jobs, most of them permanent, in March. The bad news is that the average job search now takes longer than seven months. Unable to find new work, 212,000 people could exhaust their unemployment benefits this week.
After Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) blocked an extension of unemployment benefits, lawmakers broke for the Easter recess knowing that checks would stop going out. Cue the recriminations, with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) leading the way:
"Before the Senate adjourned for the Easter Recess, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats had agreed to pass a one-week extension of unemployment benefits that was fully paid for. Unfortunately, the House Democrat leadership said no, and then Congress left town knowing the benefits would expire. Earlier, Senate Democrats voted to kill a one-month extension that was fully offset and did not add to the deficit.
"We could have stayed in Washington to resolve the issue and see that these benefits are extended and paid for, but it seems the Democrats thought it was more important to catch their planes. I am disappointed that the Democrats continue to play political games to avoid paying for these benefits that are so important to the many struggling families across our nation who rely on them to make ends meet while they search for work. Clearly, the Democrats don't want to help the unemployed unless they can increase the deficit while they're doing it."