Failure to Extend Unemployment Benefits
Could Push More Americans into Poverty
Washington, DC, December 21, 2011
Bread for the World today warned that the House of Representatives’ failure to extend unemployment benefits for two months could push many people into poverty. Nearly 2 million Americans will lose their benefits in January 2012.
“Many of the country’s 13.3 million unemployed are relying on unemployment benefits to help them get through this holiday season—and into the new year,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We urge Congress to cut short its Christmas vacation and resume sessions by Jan. 3, 2012, to pass the overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate unemployment extension bill.”
Bread for the World also warned that if Congress does not extend unemployment benefits through 2012, studies indicate that up to 6 million Americans will lose their benefits. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, unemployment insurance kept 4.6 million people out of poverty in 2010.
This is on top of the 160 million Americans who will see their taxes increase because Congress also failed to extend the payroll tax cut.
“This needless partisanship in the House has once again resulted in a standoff that we do not need and one that is so damaging to a suffering public,” said Rev. Beckmann. “I doubt our already-strained food pantries, food banks, and nonprofits will be able to feed this large influx of newly poor people in 2012.”
Before the Senate adjourned last weekend, members overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan compromise package to extend unemployment benefits for two months. It was voted down yesterday by the House. The House of Representatives is scheduled to return from vacation Jan. 17, 2012, and the Senate on Jan. 23, 2012.
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
Kristen Y. Archer, Acting Manager for Media Relations, 202-688-1118