If A Recession Comes Next Year, Congress Could Leave The Unemployed Hanging

by | Nov 1, 2022 | Politics

There is a chance that the economy will slide into recession next year and that Congress won’t do anything to help. The Federal Reserve has been trying to tame inflation by deliberately slowing down the whole economy. So far the labor market has proved resilient and unemployment remains low, but the central bank’s efforts could eventually result in millions of layoffs. AdvertisementNormally, when the economy sours and the unemployment rate rises, Congress temporariladds extra weeks of federal unemployment compensation to supplement the standard six months of benefits provided by states. The extra spending shores up people’s finances and also helps prop up the economy as a whole. But it’s not clear Congress would uphold that tradition if Republicans control the House of Representatives, which polls suggest is a likely outcome of the Nov. 8 midterm elections. “The Republican narrative is that when government helps people, we make them lazy,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) told HuffPost. Beyer has been one of the top proponents of overhauling the state-federal unemployment system so that more workers are covered and states have less leeway to slash benefits. Beyer and like-minded Democrats also favored a system that would automatically augment benefits in bad economic times. AdvertisementBut Democrats did not include changes to the unemployment system when they considered broader changes to the social safety net.“We lost that battle,” Beyer said. “It’s not in the law right now. So I think [the tradition of extending benefits] is pretty much at risk if, in the worst case, Republicans take back the House.” The three Republican lawmakers ― Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Jason Smith (Mo.) and Adrian Smith (Neb.) ― vying to be chair of the House Ways and Means Committee …

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