Congress: Do the Right Thing, Renew Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Since the House GOP left 1.3 million people out in the cold this holiday season when it refused to extend emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, working families advocates, including President Barack Obama, are continuing to urge Congress to do the right thing.

Call your representative today and ask him or her to renew the emergency UI benefits: 877-318-0483.

Yesterday, President Obama said in a press conference that the benefits are a lifeline during the job search. Obama talked about one woman from California who was laid off 13 months ago. During her job search she has volunteered, sent out résumés, took seasonal work and online courses to gain new skills. The job search would be next to impossible without the jobless benefits that enabled her to pay her car and phone bills.

President Obama:

This is not an abstraction, these are not just statistics. These are your neighbors, your friends, your family members…that could at some point be any of us.

The Economic Policy Institute reported that Congress has never allowed UI extensions to expire with long-term unemployment so high. 

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today also called on Congress to renew the emergency jobless benefits:

Many of us here are lucky enough to have a job to pay our bills, but I bet almost all of us would be hard pressed if we lost that regular paycheck—especially if we spent week after week and month after month looking for jobs that just aren’t there. The evidence tells us most hardworking Americans…bus drivers, teachers, cashiers, news reporters, janitors, construction workers, police officers…almost all of us…are one layoff…one downturn…away from real economic disaster….That's who we're talking about here…the working men and women who make America work…the millions of people who do not have a job today because of this Wall Street recession that seems to just go on with no end…and it's up to us to make their hard times just a little easier. It's up to us to help them continue to search for work in a ruthless job market. 

Check out this infographic below from the White House on the importance of renewing unemployment insurance:

This article originally appeared on the AFL-CIO Now blog.