Congress is back in town and back to work today, and its first order of business should be maintaining the emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits program that is a lifeline for the millions and millions of long-term jobless workers. If the program is allowed to expire Nov. 30, 800,000 people will immediately lose that vital help to keep a roof over their head, food on the table and medicine in the cabinet—and 2 million will lose their UI by the end of the year.
But a vote on maintaining UI is not even on the congressional calendar. In fact, Republicans are not only expected to fight extending help to the unemployed, they promise to fight just as hard for extending Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, that are also set to expire.
On Tuesday, we need to join the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and other worker advocates and make our voices heard and deliver a loud and clear message to Capitol Hill.
Congress must act now and maintain benefits for the jobless, not extend tax cuts for the rich.
Call your senators toll free at 1-877-662-2889 or click here.
It is outrageously hypocritical that the same lawmakers who say we cannot afford to maintain UI for the jobless in this horrible economy, are demanding Congress extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich and that will cost the nation more than $700 billion.
A new poll commissioned by NELP finds that 73 percent of voters want Congress to keep the emergency benefits program alive. It says:
There is deep public support for continuing the federal unemployment programs at a time when unemployment is at 9.6 percent and millions are still out of work. Support for continuing these programs trumps concerns about the deficit—which should be no surprise when nearly half of all unemployed workers have been looking for work for more than six months but have not been able to find jobs.
The number of workers who are underemployed, which includes those who are too discouraged to look for work or are working part-time out of economic necessity, remained nearly the same at 17 percent in October. Overall, nearly 27 million U.S. workers who want to work cannot find a job or full-time work.
Long-term joblessness continues to be a crisis, with 6.2 million workers jobless for six months or more. Nearly 42 percent of unemployed workers have been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
Never before has Congress decided to cut-off extended unemployment benefits when the jobless rate was so high. And not since the 1930s have so many unemployed job-seekers been out-of-work for so long.
Call your Senators toll-free at 1-877-662-2889 or click here and tell them Congress must act now and maintain benefits to the jobless, not extend tax cuts to the rich.