Jan 9, 2014
This week Democrats are pushing to extend federal emergency jobless benefits that expired Dec. 28. The Senate voted 60-37 to move forward on consideration of the measure that would provide for a three-month extension for the nation's long-term unemployed.
CWA President Larry Cohen said, "We commend the Senate for today's vote to proceed on consideration of extending emergency benefits to 1.3 million Americans, and applaud Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid for making this issue the top priority as the Senate returned to work this week. Not only is this a moral issue, but it's an economic one as well. These dollars flow back into the economy, and the Congressional Budget Office has calculated that every dollar spent on unemployment benefits yields $1.60 for our economy."
It's time for the Senate to finish its work and the House of Representatives to take action to extend this critical safety net for millions of Americans.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities does an excellent job of putting the nation's long-term unemployment benefits crisis into perspective.
The emergency federal unemployment program started in 2008 – in the middle of the Great Recession – to provide up to 47 weeks of benefits for jobless Americans still looking for work after their state unemployment benefits run out. When Congress failed to renew the program last month, it left 1.3 million Americans without that vital lifeline:
This chart shows how many people lost benefits when Congress failed to extend emergency benefits.
This chart shows what would happen if federal emergency benefits, the safety net for jobless workers, had been extended, especially where unemployment remains high.
This chart shows what the country looks like today for unemployed people. Unless Congress acts, benefits are limited to 26 weeks or less in every state, no matter how high a state's unemployment rate remains.