Tell Congress: Don't Leave the Unemployed Out in the Cold

Our own George Zornick has a dramatic update on the ongoing budget negotiations unfolding on Capitol Hill:

Thursday morning, House Democrats held a deeply emotional hearing featuring several long-term unemployed Americans who pleaded with Congress to extend the expiring federal Emergency Unemployment Insurance program, which provides benefits to jobless Americans after their state benefits run out.

The program has been extended or modified eleven times since it was created in 2008 as the economy cratered, but is set to expire at the end of 2013—meaning 2.15 million long-term unemployed would lose benefits entirely.

The looming House-Senate budget negotiations have been viewed as the best vehicle to extend the EUC program—and Thursday’s hearing ended with some dramatic news from House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. She made it clear that Democrats couldn’t support any agreement that didn’t have an EUC extension, either in the actual budget or as a separate piece of legislation.

The White House recently released a report highlighting the devastating effects the cut in unemployment benefits would have on states across the country—260,000 unemployed Floridians would see their benefits disappear, as would over 140,000 people in Massachusetts. Rather than put people back to work, the cut in benefits would worsen our long-standing jobs crisis: that same report estimates they would cost the entire country 240,000 jobs. 

Join The Nation and Daily Kos in calling on Congress not to leave the long-term unemployed out in the cold. Contact your representative now and tell them to make sure an extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is included in any budget deal.

Employment Guide
Sonja Jackson, of Detroit, holds an Employment Guide standing in line while attending a job fair in Livonia, Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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