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Portman proposes unemployment benefit extension
Plan would require assessments and possible job skills training or community service

Kabir Bhatia
Sen. Rob Portman is behind the latest proposal to extend unemployment benefits
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
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Sen. Rob Portman is proposing with a new extension of unemployment benefits, but the money would come with conditions that he says will benefit people without jobs. Ohio's Republican senator wants to add five months of federal benefits to the six months of state benefits. Under the new plan, anyone applying for the federal extension would undergo an assessment and could be assigned to job training or 20 hours a week of community service. Portman says that will enhance the skill-set for jobseekers, and help them to land work sooner.
Portman proposes unemployment benefit extension

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“I think there are about 100,000 jobs open right now. A lot of them do require skills that people may or may not have who are moving from, say, a manufacturing job and have to go into a higher-tech position in manufacturing or an IT job or a bio-science job. So the notion is to provide them with better skills training.”

Extended federal benefits ended late last year, and bills to replace it have foundered. Portman and five other Republican senators are sponsoring the latest bill, and say it would be paid for through higher fees on plane tickets, adjustments in federal pension contributions, and eliminating some payments to people who are also on disability.

Portman delivered the weekly Republican address on Saturday morning.

Sen. Rob Portman's address:
“Hi, I’m U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio, and I want to talk to you today about how to get America moving again. 
“It’s been five years since the experts said the recession was over, but for millions of Americans, it feels like it never ended. 
“We’re living through the weakest economic recovery since World War II, and a lot of folks are struggling to make ends meet. Unemployment remains stubbornly high; the number of long-term unemployed is actually at record levels.
 “But these statistics only tell half the story. Eleven million Americans have become so discouraged that they’ve given up looking for work altogether. Poverty rates have gone up, salaries have gone down, with the average family now bringing home $4,000 less than they did just five years ago. The wealthy are doing just fine in the Obama economy. But with paychecks down and the cost of healthcare, college education and a tank of gas going up, this Middle Class squeeze is strangling the American Dream.
 “Clearly, the policies coming out of Washington, DC haven’t worked. President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress believed we could spend our way to prosperity, and I guess they still do. Despite record levels of debt, the President’s budget this week asked for hundreds of billions in new government spending and over a trillion in new taxes. 
“It’s the same old story. Washington has tried more taxing, even more spending and an unprecedented amount of borrowing – and yet here we are.
 “Some say this is just the new normal and we need to get used to it: fewer people working, smaller middle-class paychecks, bigger government, never-ending deficits and record debt piled on our kids and grandkids. 
“I say that’s wrong. That our best days should be ahead of us. We know we can do better, and it starts by putting our trust back in the American people.
 “That’s what’s at the heart of Jobs for America, a seven point plan put forward by Senate Republicans to bring back opportunity, spark an economic recovery and restore to every American a shot at the American Dream. It starts by getting government out of the way where we need to, whether it’s healthcare, regulations, or taxation. 
“Take Obamacare. I think it’s clear to just about everybody, maybe except the President, that it’s just not working. He promised people they could keep their health care plans, but they’re losing them. He said costs would go down, but for many, they’ve soared.
 “Let’s replace Obamacare with reforms that put you back in charge of your own healthcare. Decisions about your health should be between you and your doctor, not a bureaucrat and an insurance company. Let’s expand choice, rather than limiting it. Let’s create jobs, instead of destroying them. And let’s bring down the costs instead of driving them up. 
“Obamacare is a good example of government overreach, but it’s far from the only one unfortunately. Bureaucracy and red tape are also burying many American businesses and making it harder to create jobs. We’ve proposed changes that will ensure that the benefits of regulations are worth the cost – that regulations do their job, without costing you yours.
 “Then there’s the tax code. April 15th is coming up, and I don’t have to tell you that the tax code is a complex and expensive mess that needs to be simplified. But what a lot of folks probably don’t know is that our out-of-date and inefficient corporate tax code is driving opportunity and investment overseas, creating jobs in other places that should be right here in America. Let’s fix the code so that every company pays its fair share while bringing those dollars back to our shores to expand plant, equipment, and jobs. 
“And let’s also make sure that the taxes you do pay are spent wisely. Let’s pass a balanced budget amendment to rein in the runaway, big government spending that drives our deficits. 
“We often talk about the irresponsible debt burden we are leaving our children and grandchildren. That’s bad enough. But our massive debt doesn’t just mortgage our future; it undermines our present and has a direct impact on jobs and the economy right now today.
 “The government’s bad habits shouldn’t stand in the way of your success.
 “Let’s also get the United States back into the business expanding markets overseas for what we make right here in America. We have some trade agreements hanging in the balance now. Let’s be sure we are competing on a level playing field and give the President the authority he needs to open more markets for our farmers and our workers. We want to see people around the world buying products that are stamped, ‘Made in America,’ so we can create more jobs right here at home. 
“We can also create jobs by making the all-of-the-above energy strategy we hear so much about a reality.  Let’s produce more and use less. We should wage a war on inefficiency, but not a war on coal. We should expand all forms of American energy, including through offshore drilling and developing our shale natural gas. And let’s finally approve the Keystone Pipeline to create jobs and speed the day when North America will truly be energy independent. 
“And finally, let’s make sure Americans can get the skills they need to access the jobs that are out there. The federal government now runs 47 different, often overlapping, workforce-training programs, but they aren’t closing the skills gap. In fact, they have too much bureaucracy and too much inefficiency. If we want more Americans in a job, then we need workforce retraining programs that do a better job.
 “These are seven commonsense proposals with bipartisan roots that we all know can help get our country moving again. America’s best days can be ahead of us, just beyond the next horizon. We just have to reapply some of the principles that have made America that beacon of hope and opportunity for the rest of the world.
 “‘A rising tide lifts all boats,’ said John F. Kennedy. Let’s enact these reforms. If we do, we’ll see unemployment rates drop, we’ll see incomes rise and we’ll see the gap between the rich and the poor close, not because we are bringing people down but because we are bringing people up.
“Thanks so much for listening, and may God continue to bless our great country.” 
Listener Comments:

I've worked for 40 years and paid into what ever for my future someday and now i am losing everything, I am alone and do not have any help except my Unemployment and extention. But i lost that and i've really been suffering these past months. Watching the news, Reading the paper and still nothing. I see alot of whats happening overseas and how we are trying to help them out WHY!! We need help right here in the USA. Almost all of the people in Congress are Millionairs so they dont care what happens to us (The little people)??? All i've had my whole life is gone and I dont see any future for me. The EUC helped me out no matter how small it was. My Soc.Sec is not enough only to pay my rent. No food and No Gas. Is this what my country has done for me and any Loyal American. Move your Arse Congress and stop all the excuses. Thats not what we need. We ned help NOW this very minute.

Posted by: Mama Bear (Michigan) on March 23, 2014 2:03AM
Ohio residents are embarrassed to have these republicans represent us..

There will be a change come November !!!!!

Extend the Benefits or you will be Unemployed!!!

Posted by: deano (oh) on March 19, 2014 8:03AM
do they make people on welfare and food stamps do community service and job training. The unemployed are not criminals.

Posted by: no name (tennessee) on March 10, 2014 12:03PM
People just listen to this asshole. He wants the state to asess us in witch if the bill passes could take up to a month to receive any benefits and then wants to put people doing comunity service like we have been convicted of a crime.All the years this program has been running not once was there amendments atcatched to program. Remember this is EMERGENCY unemployment benefits that all of us have paid into over the years of working. This should be done on the lifelong welfare people not the ones who have been working to pay for welfare.This is just a sample of the dumasses we have working in our gov. today. Oh by the way thanks for youre help mr. president my brothers keeper,o bummer.

Posted by: jeff (america) on March 10, 2014 9:03AM
An yet Americans come November will vote for the GOP that is the sad reality

Posted by: daniel (florida) on March 9, 2014 11:03AM
In the past 8 months of my unemployment, I've applied for over 300 jobs, endured countless phone interviews, met with several hiring managers, and have made it to the top three candidates a few times. Still, I have not gotten an offer. I've sold almost everything I own to keep a roof over my and my son's heads and I've placed ads in craigslist offering to paint or clean homes. I've dealt with so much rejection that started when my employment ended and is only epitomized by a government that has rejected me and the ther 2 million, labelling us as a "bad risk investment." If this is the way our own government feels about us, why should employers feel any differently. But all us unemployed still get up each day and continue to try and hope that someone might see us as valuable-especially those politicians we elected to represent us.

Posted by: Angie (San Antonio) on March 9, 2014 6:03AM
I am 57 years old,have worked hard all my life,paid taxes to support this great country and the politicians who are now dumping on me in my time of need.Laid off on May 2013,when not looking for work im trying to sell real-estate.So it looks like tough luck to me until we can get some decent people in office who don't fear this out of touch with reality "tea party".

Posted by: Bill Evans (Canyon Lake,Ca,) on March 8, 2014 6:03AM
Good idea. We want work! Unfortunately many of us don't qualify for jobs types other than the ones we have worked for the last 15-25 years and got laid off from,

Posted by: Rhonda (Vancouver) on March 7, 2014 10:03AM
Unfortunately, Portman's GOP colleague John Boehner is against extending the financial lifeline to millions of American families who are in financial straits. The GOP has hit the trifecta: They have cut food stamps to millions of hungry children, they have cut veterans benefits to millions of brave soldiers, and now they are ending the financial lifeline to 5 million long term unemployed middle class families. GOP have done more damage to the middle class and poor than at any time in recent history. Their feed the rich, starve the poor economic policy is in full bloom.

Posted by: mort (buffalo) on March 7, 2014 9:03AM
I am a Veteran, not that this should matter regarding the extension of unemployment Benefits.
But I would like to see some of these Veterans take matters in their own hands and put their Military experience.

It appears that many other countries citizens put their lives on the hook for change for the benefit of everyone, yet we American can't seem to pass our own personal interests.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".....

Posted by: jose (california) on March 7, 2014 6:03AM
Harry accept this offer, Americans need this yesterday.

Posted by: Anonymous on March 7, 2014 5:03AM
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