Bring the Unemployed in From the Cold
The number of Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits is huge…and growing.
Today, we will hit the 1.6 million mark for the number of people who have been cut off from emergency unemployment benefits since December 28. That is 1.6 million Americans whose financial security, and in many cases their children’s financial security, is in jeopardy because Republicans in Congress have failed to act.
Last week, a majority of Senators voted to extend these benefits. But because of Republican obstruction, it didn’t pass the filibuster-proof 60 vote threshold. In fact, as shown below, many of the Republicans who voted against renewing unemployment benefits come from states where it is especially needed.
Not only did these and other Republican Senators vote against the unemployed in their states, they also voted against the will of a vast majority of Americans. Poll after poll (after poll!), including the latest from CBS News released yesterday, finds up to seven in 10 Americans want to extend unemployment insurance benefits for those that lost them when they expired at the end of 2013.
Meanwhile, Republican grandees gathered at the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee actually voted to call for an end to a successful crackdown on wealthy tax dodgers in order to help, as they explained it, raise more money from wealthy Americans living abroad. It’s no wonder that 63 percent of Americans believe the policies pushed by Republicans in Congress favor the wealthy, while just 9 percent think they favor the middle class.
BOTTOM LINE: Profits at the biggest banks may have bounced back to record highs, but the economy is still not working for too many struggling families. Letting the extended, emergency unemployment benefits lapse through the next year would cost us 240,000 jobs and slash economic growth. It already drained $400 million from state economies in the first week alone. We can’t afford for Republicans to oppose this vital program that would support their state economies and extend lifeline for those looking for work.