Revive long-term unemployment benefits now

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WASHINGTON - More than three months after House Republicans leaders allowed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits program to expire, nearly 2.8 million jobless workers have lost their economic lifeline. Monday, the U.S. Senate gave those workers a ray of hope when it passed (59-38) a bill reviving the program for long-term jobless workers.

Now it is up to the House to keep that hope alive.

House leaders have said they won't take up the Senate bill, which provides retroactive benefits to Dec. 28, but only extends the program to May 31. Congress is due to leave town for a two-week recess. 

Call your House members today at 845-809-4509 and urge them to pass the emergency unemployment benefits extension now.  

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chief sponsor of the Senate bill (S. 2077), said, "The beneficiaries of this bill have earned these UI [unemployment insurance] benefits through hard work, and they have the right to expect their representatives in Congress would not stand in the way of this emergency assistance. Reauthorizing emergency UI benefits in times of economic hardship has historically not been a partisan issue, and it's time we revert to that longstanding tradition of extending a hand to our fellow Americans in their time of need."

"It has been a long cold winter for 2.8 million Americans who have been callously cut off from receiving emergency unemployment benefits," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "Today's vote in the Senate is a critical step in thawing the long economic freeze that families have suffered through.  What's next?  Finding enough Republican leaders in the House who have the backbone to stand with working people rather than cater to extreme partisan ideology.  We believe it's possible. We call on members of the House to quickly renew these crucial benefits.  It is shameful that families in need have had to wait this long."

This article appeared in the AFL-CIO Now Blog.

 

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