End of Benefits

THE HOLIDAY season is one that should be filled with joy and happiness.

But for more than a million Americans anything is but the case. On Saturday, unemployment benefits ended for 1.3 million individuals.

That is a painful development for those affected, and at a most inopportune time. It came about as a five-year program that extended benefits for the long-term jobless ceased to exist.

In addition to the million-plus people who felt the brunt of the cutoff Saturday, hundreds of thousands of more jobless will meet with the same fate before June.

Under the program, the federal government provided an average monthly stipend of $1,166.

As is all too often the case with the national political scene, partisanship led to the program’s demise.

The Obama administration, supported by Congressional Democrats, was in favor of extending the jobless benefits. Conversely, Republicans were in opposition to such a move.

With that being the case, the program was removed from this month’s budget accord.

Obama has said that Congress should make reinstatement of the benefits a top priority once it returns from its holiday recess. House Speaker John Boehner indicated that may be possible, depending on how such a resumption is funded.

We urge both sides of the aisle to come together quickly and take action to assist millions of Americans in need of unemployment benefits.

Such a move would not only restore payments to those dealing with tough times but would also aid the national economy while also boosting job creation.