Vote to extend unemployment benefits delayed

SAN DIEGO – The politically charged vote by the U.S. Senate to extend long term unemployment insurance will be postponed until Tuesday.

Republicans and Democrats alike were impacted by bad weather Monday.  As a result, 17 senators were absent on Capitol Hill, leading to the delay of a key vote on a bill to restore unemployment benefits for nearly 1.3 millions Americans.

“I’ve lost it all,” said Joy Dauda of San Diego, who has been out of work since March 2013.  “I’ve lost my car, my house, my job, my mothjobser, everything.  I’m just tapped out.”

Dauda is one of thousands of San Diegans who is anxiously waiting to see if lawmakers will extend jobless benefits.

“If I lose my unemployment benefits, what am I going to do?” asked Dauda.

The benefits expired for many long-term unemployed Americans on December 28, after lawmakers did not extend the program as part of a bipartisan budget agreement.  But on Tuesday, the senate will consider a bill that would restore benefits for eligible workers for another three months.

“Locally, here in San Diego, we are talking about 18,000 individuals who will lose those benefits if the vote does not go through to extend unemployment insurance,” said Mark Nanzer, who is with San Diego Workforce Partnership.

After staying home to take care of her dying Mother, Dauda said she was terminated from her flight attendant job of six years.  Since then she said she has applied from a variety of jobs, everything from customer service, to property management, to flight attendant, to retails jobs.

Dauda said she has sent out more than a thousand resumes.

“I haven’t had a single call back,” said Dauda.

The 30-year-old has even tried to reinvent herself by getting her real estate license.

“When there are no opportunities out there you have to create opportunities,” she said.

But with no family to turn to for help, Dauda said she is unable to make ends meet.

“I’m homeless now,” Dauda said.  “I just went down to St. Vincent today to get a bed.”

Dauda said she would like to see unemployment benefits extended, but she said she is not putting her faith in lawmakers, but instead, in a higher power.

She said, “I’m just gonna put it in God’s hands now.”

The bill is meeting resistance by some Republicans who say they will not vote to extend the benefits without offsetting the roughly $6.5 billion it will cost.  Even if the bill passes the Senate, it faces stiffer resistance in the GOP controlled house.

San Diego offers online assistance and resources for residents looking for jobs.