unemployment

Eileen Pace / TPR News

One of the first things U.S. Congressman Joaquín Castro is hoping to accomplish for 2014 is to reinstate the country’s extended unemployment benefits that expired this past weekend.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are vowing to fight to reinstate those benefits for the 1.3 million Americans still struggling to find work. Castro told NBC's "Meet The Press" that Congress needs to make this a priority as a first order of business in 2014.

"In Texas alone we’ve got 66,000 people who lost their benefits, 235,000 people in all who will lose their benefits midway in 2014," Castro said.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

House Democrats were able to stall a vote on a bill that would have mandated welfare recipients be drug screened before receiving benefits, an action that ultimately killed the bill entirely.  

The bill would have required anyone applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to be screened for illicit drug use and it immediately struck a chord with House Democrats like Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston.

Joey Palacios / TPR

Texas Matters: President Obama visited Austin on Thursday to promote his jobs and middle class growth strategy. Also on this show: Latino unemployment in Texas, the Boquillas border crossing opens in Big Bend and the last night to pass bills out of the Texas House.

President Obama brought a message of economic recovery when he visited Austin yesterday, the first stop in his “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour.” Latinos in the U.S., however, are trailing behind the national average in unemployment. So how are they’re doing when it comes to finding work in the home of the “Texas miracle?"

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Similar to the bill mandating welfare recipients be screened for drugs, this bill mandates that Texans receiving unemployment benefits also be drug-tested.

Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, authored the bill that would force all unemployment applicants to go through a drug-screening process with a counselor from the Texas Workforce Commission.

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