Bread for the World Applauds Extension of Unemployment Insurance Benefits
February 17, 2012
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Bread for the World is pleased that Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extends unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax cut through the end of 2012. Without the extension, nearly 4.5 million unemployed workers would have lost benefits before the end of the year.
"For millions of families, unemployment insurance serves as a lifeline that prevents them from falling into poverty while they are looking for work," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "Last year unemployment benefits helped keep 4.6 million people out of poverty."
Republicans and Democrats both made concessions and worked together to pass The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which is a relatively clean extension of the program. The act extends unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax cut through the end of the year, and prevents a cut in Medicare payment rates to physicians.
Congress did reduce the maximum number of weeks unemployed workers can claim benefits. The bill decreases the maximum number of weeks from 99 in states with particularly high unemployment to 73 weeks. In most states, benefits will eventually be capped at 63 weeks.
"I'm disappointed that Congress reduced the number of weeks for emergency compensation--especially in a time like this when unemployment remains high--but overall, it's a good bipartisan deal," Rev. Beckmann said. "I'm especially proud of Bread for the World members and supporters who contacted their members of Congress to let them know how important it was to extend these benefits. I'm glad their voices were heard."