How long is too long to help the unemployed? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

How long is too long to help the unemployed?

Chris Blevins Chris Blevins
Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The House voted has already voted to extend unemployment benefits through November. In the meantime, benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans, including East Texans, will expire before any new extension kicks in. The vote now heads to the Senate to decide how much longer the country will help its unemployed.

But Chris Blevins said some things should not have expiration dates. Blevins lives in Smith County and worked on an assembly line at Carrier for six years. He was one of dozens of employees laid off in April.

Since then, Blevins has been drawing unemployment benefits. He said his income has been sliced by more than half, and his family was forced to move into another home where the rent is cheaper.  

"When your job is getting shipped across the water, or to other countries, yeah, I think that this country should do the best that it can," he said.

Some argue the government has already done enough. Congress extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks back in April. That extension expires this month.

"I just hope that our country will spend time looking at the people who are hurting, here," said Blevins.

"I don't know any of those people who would prefer to be unemployed," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX. He was in Tyler, Tuesday for an economic roundtable with local leaders. 

Cornyn said he is willing to consider helping people, but at some point, the benefits will have to stop.

"The goal has to be to help the economy create jobs, and that means getting out of the way, getting off the back, and out of the pockets of the private sector," he said.

Still, Blevins said the government should have no qualms with helping those individuals who  are actively looking for jobs, or taking initiative to change their situations.

"I just thank God that He gave me a different option," he said.

Blevins is now enrolled in barber college. His plan is to graduate and find a job before his own benefits expire.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure when Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess.

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