Unemployment rate rises as Congress remains at a standstill on unemployment benefits.
Really bad news from Washington this morning for those looking for jobs. The government reports the nation's unemployment rate is up.
There aren't a lot of new jobs out there and Congress is at a standstill on whether to extend unemployment checks again.
November was dismal.
Only 39,000 new jobs. There were four times that many last month.
Unemployment rose to 9.8 percent. More than 15 million Americans are now looking for work.
Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says "people who were discouraged and stepped out of the work force stopped looking for work and therefore weren't counted as unemployed are now stepping back in thinking that there may be a job opportunity."
With extending unemployment benefits still up in their air, Congress is focusing on preventing year-end tax hikes.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says "the tax cut for middle income families will create jobs because people will spend that money."
With Republicans still firmly opposed.
House Minority Leader John Boehner says "chicken crap, all right? but this is nonsense, alright?"
The House extended tax breaks for the middle class. But a last-minute snafu pushed Senate votes to Saturday with no Republican ideas being considered.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says "it's my understanding that one senator held this up. I have no idea who it is. I have no idea."
Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina says "we're gonna fight for doing this thing right and hopefully we can get some of our colleagues to join us."
Also today, the Deficit Commission votes on their controversial plan to slash $4 trillion from the nation's debt.
It's not expected to pass.
There's progress in those private talks between the White House, Democrats and Republicans on tax cuts.
For now it looks like unemployment benefits may be extended and individuals could get a $400 tax break as part of the deal.