Senate Democrats

GOP Pushes To Cut Worker Benefits As The Holiday Season Begins

Senate Republicans have a choice today: they can stand up for working families during the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, or they can cut the safety net out from under millions of Americans in the middle of the holiday season. These benefits don’t just help individual workers and their families, they are also one of the most effective ways to keep our economy growing. With polls showing that Americans overwhelmingly want these benefits extended, Republicans are on the wrong side of both the policy and public opinion. It’s time for Republicans to stop playing politics and start standing up for hard-working Americans.


In 2010, Unemployment Benefits Contributed $68 Billion To The U.S. Economy. In this year alone, close to 9.5 million workers have collected unemployment benefits from the federal government. Data analyzed by The National Employment Law Project and the Department of Labor demonstrate that these benefits have contributed an estimated $68 billion back into the U.S. economy. [The National Employment Law Project: Briefing Paper – Out Cold for the Holidays, 10/27/10]

Every Dollar Spent On Benefits Increases GDP By $1.60. Unemployment benefits are effective tools for economic growth. In a November report, the Joint Economic Committee cites an estimate by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers that every dollar spent on these benefits increases the gross domestic product by $1.60. [U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, November 2010]


Senate Republican Whip Says Unemployment Benefits Are “A Disincentive” For Those Who “Seek New Work.” Senator Jon Kyl said on the Senate floor that unemployment insurance "doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work…I’m sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can’t argue that it’s a job enhancer. If anything, as I said, it’s a disincentive.” [Congressional Record, 3/1/10]

Republican Senator Believes Congress Should Have Cut Off Unemployment Benefits In May. Appearing on CNBC in May 2010, Senator Gregg was asked when the government should end unemployment claims. Gregg responded “Yeah, right now…it’s important to do that up to a certain level, but at some point you’ve got to acknowledge that we’re not Europe.” [CNBC, 5/24/10]

Voters Believe Benefits Should Continue Until Unemployment Rate Decreases. 67 percent of voters think the federal government should continue to provide benefits until the unemployment rate comes down substantially. [Hart Research National Survey on Unemployment Benefits, November 2010]

Strong Support For Continuing Unemployment Benefits. 60 percent of voters believe that Congress should continue the current program of federal unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits but still cannot find a job. [Hart Research National Survey on Unemployment Benefits, November 2010]


Extending Benefits Through 2011 Creates Jobs At Lower Cost Than Bush Tax Cuts for Upper-Income Americans. “Spending $65 billion on unemployment insurance extensions will increase GDP by an estimated $104.7 billion, which is roughly 0.7% of our $14.7 trillion GDP. This increase in GDP translates into 488,000 payroll jobs.” Whereas “extending [the Bush tax cuts] for the next 10 years would add about $3.8 trillion to a growing national debt that is already the largest since World War II. About $700 billion of that reflects the projected costs of tax cuts for those in the top 2 percent of income-earners.” [New York Times, 8/10/10; Economic Policy Institute: A Good Deal for All, 11/4/10]