It's estimated that 5,500 Idahoans have exhausted their state and federal unemployment benefits, and that number could swell to close to 30,000 over the next several months. That is, unless Congress passes another extension.
On Tuesday, July 20, Democrat Carte Goodwin will be sworn in as the interim successor to the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Goodwin should provide Democrats with the 60th vote they need to close debate and possibly pass the benefits extension. Idaho's entire Congressional delegation doesn't support the latest extension, but enough votes are expected to give the recent incarnation new life.
Earlier today (Monday) President Barack Obama chastised Republicans for, thus far, not even allowing the unemployment extension bill to come to the Senate floor.
"After years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn't have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn't offer relief to middle-class Americans, who really need help."