Saturday, April 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Senate should restore jobless benefits

The U.S. Senate should vote to restore benefits to the long-term unemployed when it returns to work this month. A bipartisan agreement reached last week between 10 Democratic and Republican senators is not perfect. But it would put money into the pockets of millions of Americans hit hardest by the job market. And the deal would give able-bodied workers the hope, time and resources many need to get back on their feet.

The agreement, announced by five senators from each party, would restore for five months long-term jobless benefits that expired Dec. 28. The total number of people affected when Congress failed to renew long-term unemployment benefits late last year will total some 2.3 million people by April 5, including more than 124,000 in Florida, according to the National Employment Law Project, which has been lobbying to restore the aid. More than 1 million children in affected families have also been impacted by the cutoff.

The deal would be a lifeline for states such as Florida where long-term joblessness remains stubbornly high. Millions would be able to redouble their efforts at finding a job without having to go further into the cycles of debt and despair. The bill strengthens assessment and referral services to help job-seekers track more quickly into the workforce. And the proposal is fully paid for by extending U.S. customs fees and changing the way corporations contribute to pensions.

The resumption of aid would be temporary, and by backdating it to December the benefits would run only through May. Still, the assistance would be critical to the 72,000 people every week who are losing long-term benefits after exhausting their state eligibility. Millions could at least get by, cover the energy bills from the long, cold winter and make themselves more confident and ready to re-enter the job market.

The Republican support has raised hopes the measure could pass the Senate. Republicans in the House should see the bill as a moderate compromise that serves an immediate public need while giving the economy a boost and being offset elsewhere in the budget.

With the jobs picture still in flux, this is no time for Congress to write off Americans who have something to contribute. And Republicans should not want to give Democrats a wedge issue to use against them in November. Extending benefits to the long-term unemployed is the right thing to do and good politics. The Senate should pass the bill and the House should follow suit.

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Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18