More than 1.3 million Americans without jobs for six months or more face an unemployment insurance cutoff at the end of December. As the impact continues to be felt from worst recession since the 1930s, Sen. Bernie Sanders joined 31 other senators who signed a letter urging Congress to preserve federal unemployment insurance for another year.
While the official 7 percent unemployment rate in November was the lowest in five years, long-term unemployment remained near record highs. Altogether some 4 million Americans, more than one-third of all those who are unemployed, have been jobless for six months or more.
- Congress Readies a Year-End Dash Congress gets a late chance this week to end the year with an elusive budget deal and to make headway on other fronts. In the final week of 2013 that the Senate and House are scheduled to be in Washington at the same time, lawmakers and aides are optimistic that negotiators can reach a budget accord and continue to make progress on a farm bill and other measures. Meanwhile, a Senate rule change pushed through by Democrats should help ease the way for confirmation of several of President Obama's executive-branch and judicial nominees, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- Budget Deal Near House and Senate negotiators were putting the finishing touches Sunday on what would be the first successful budget accord since 2011, when the battle over a soaring national debt first paralyzed Washington. The deal expected to be sealed this week on Capitol Hill would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs. It would not even fully replace sharp spending cuts known as the sequester, the negotiators’ primary target, The Washington Post reported.
- Cell Phone Tracking Cellphone carriers last year answered at least 1.1 million requests from law enforcement agencies seeking information on caller locations, text messages and other data for use in investigations, according to reports from the carriers in response to a request from Sen. Edward J. Markey. He wants the Federal Communications Commission to limit the amount of time carriers could hold on to customers’ personal information. He also would narrow the information that police collected from a cell tower when doing so-called dumps, The New York Times reported.