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The Senate, back from its winter recess, is considering reinstating federal unemployment benefits for the 1.3 million who have been out of work for more than six months and who lost them over the holidays when the program expired. Guest host Barbara Bogaev looks at the politics, economics and uncertain future of the of extended federal jobless aid. Also, the 'polar vortex' that's bring misery to much of the US, and the Supreme Court puts same sex marriages on hold in Utah. What about the 900 couples there who've already tied the knot?

Banner image: TruthOut.org

Making News A 'Polar Vortex' Brings Misery to Much of the US 7 MIN, 45 SEC

An evocatively named cold front is slamming much of the nation today, causing record-breaking dangerous temperatures in states from Montana to Alabama. Paul Huttner, chief meteorologist for Minnesota Public Radio, has more on this extreme weather and the underlying science behind the polar vortex.

Paulo Huttner, Minnesota Public Radio (@MPRweather)

Main Topic Out of Work and Out of Luck: The Politics of Unemployment 37 MIN, 24 SEC

The Senate returned from recess today to consider Emergency Unemployment Compensation, a three-month extension to long-term unemployment insurance that lapsed over the holidays for 1.3 million Americans out of work for more than six months. Programs like it have been passed in every recession since 1957. This one had been re-authorized 11 times but expired when Congress failed to include an extension in the latest contentious budget battle. As a result only one in four unemployed Americans is estimated to receive jobless benefits, the smallest proportion in half a century. Last weekend President Obama urged Congress to re-instate long-term jobless aid. Does federal aid help job hunters stay in the labor market or discourage them from looking? How does the loss of benefits affect the economy as a whole? Should government put the money towards creating economic and job opportunities rather than providing cash?


Joshua Green, Bloomberg BusinessWeek; author of “Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency.” (@JoshuaGreen)
Sheri Minkoff, unemployed administrator and manager (@SheriMinkoff)
Maurice Emsellem, National Employment Law Project
Casey Mulligan, University of Chicago (@caseybmulligan)
Rick Newman, Yahoo Finance (@rickjnewman)

The Redistribution Recession

Casey B. Mulligan

Today's Talking Point Supreme Court Halts Gay Marriage in Utah 6 MIN

The US Supreme Court has put a temporary hold on same-sex marriage in Utah, until the state appeals an earlier ruling that legalized the unions. The 10th Circuit reportedly has the appeal on fast track and could hear arguments as son as the end of the month. If Utah loses its appeal, the state will likely ask the Supreme Court to intervene, and in so doing might finally take on the constitutionality of state power to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The Salt Lake Tribune's Brooke Adams considers what this latest ruling means for a thousand same-sex couples who have already tied the knot in Utah and for the future of gay marriage.

Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune (@Brooke4Trib)

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