Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Bob Casey (D-PA) joined Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project and an unemployed Pennsylvanian who is looking for work on a conference call to discuss the importance of preserving unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.
Unemployment insurance provides an important safety net for millions of Americans to help them support their families while they look for work, and also provides an immediate and necessary boost to the economy. Recent polling data shows that a strong majority of Americans support extending unemployment insurance as Congress works to create jobs and strengthen the economy. If Congress fails to act, two million job-seeking Americans will lose their benefits in December and several hundred thousand unemployed workers will lose their benefits every month thereafter.
“Maintaining unemployment benefits would help millions of job seekers and boost the economy. But Republicans are trying to re-write economics and reality. They want to provide $700 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but not pay for them. At the same time, they are demanding that emergency unemployment benefits for middle-class folks be fully paid for. That is a little like the dieter who orders a Diet Coke and a Big Mac. The fact of the matter is we won’t achieve economic growth and job creation if we don’t get the economy going, and failing to preserve UI benefits will put the economy into reverse, not forward,” said Senator Reed.
"Helping workers who have lost their jobs and pumping dollars into local businesses and the economy should be something everyone can support," said Senator Casey. "Congress must act now to preserve unemployment insurance for the two million Americans and 83,000 Pennsylvanians who will lose this financial lifeline at the end of the month. Doing nothing will hurt millions of Americans, job creation and the economic recovery."
“National polls and overwhelming petition response are proof-positive that Americans care about the unemployed and know that taking care of them and ensuring that they still have money to spend in their local economies is a top priority,” said Judy Conti. “We urge the Senate to do what 3 out of every 4 Americans wants them to do – enact a yearlong reauthorization of federal unemployment benefits and help keep us on the road to financial recovery.”
“I’m counting on Congress to put politics aside and do the right thing by reauthorizing the federal jobless benefits until the jobs come back,” said Pat McNamara. “If all of us don’t have the dollars to spend on the economy, there will be more workers unemployed and more hurt and suffering.”
SUGGESTED CUTLINE: Senator Bob Casey receives petitions signed by over 100,000 Americans from Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project (NELP). The petitions call on Congress to extend unemployment benefits which will expire at the end of November.