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Rand Paul: Extended Unemployment Benefits a “Disservice” to Workers

Speaking against President Obama’s move to extend unemployment benefits, Senator Rand Paul argued on Sunday that such policy “actually does a disservice” to those without jobs.

The Kentucky senator, who supports offering jobless individual’s unemployment benefits for 26 weeks, disagrees with plans that would extend such benefits for 99 weeks, warning it prompts workers “to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.”

If Congress doesn’t take action by the end of December, federal benefits will become unavailable to roughly 1.3 million unemployed Americans.

“There was a study that came out a few months ago,” Paul said in a Fox News Sunday interview. “It said if you have a worker that’s been unemployed for four weeks and on unemployment insurance and one that’s on 99 weeks, which would you hire? Every employer, nearly 100 percent, said they will always hire the person who’s been out of work four weeks.”

Studies have also shown, however, that extending benefits “didn’t affect people finding jobs quickly, but for people who were unemployed a long-time, it kept them in the labor force,” according to Henry Faber, an economist at Princeton University.

The issue of jobless benefits continues has been a point of debate within Congress lawmakers as the timeline approaches their budget deal for 2014. Some House Republicans are collecting signatures for a letter urging GOP leaders to extend benefits before Christmas. Nevertheless, such a measure seems unlikely within Republicans.

House Speaker John Boehner shrugged off the necessity for a benefits extension. “Today’s report includes positive signs that should discourage calls for more emergency government ‘stimulus,’” he said in response to lower unemployment figures released by the Labor Department last Friday.

About the author

Gary Bryan is an industrial marketing manager by daytime and political and social issues writer by night. You can also find his editorials at Mic.com.