Jan 20, 2003
Stung by strong criticism, Congress rushed to pass and Bush rushed to sign a bill renewing unemployment benefits for laid off workers. The extension to unemployment is severely limited – in most states, only 13 more weeks after the 26 weeks of regular unemployment runs out. And this relatively short 13-week extension is temporary, just like the last one. The extension is slated to end in May. That means that those who run out of their 26 weeks of unemployment after May will not qualify for even the 13 weeks extension. The number of unemployed continues to grow, as does the number of long-term unemployed. Today, almost two million people have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Millions of the unemployed will run out of benefits before getting new jobs.
But that was not Bush's concern. It was just to cover his rear end long enough to get his war in Iraq started.