Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World applauds the Senate for passing H.R. 3979, the bipartisan bill to reinstate and extend emergency unemployment benefits. In response, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, issued the following statement today:
“Congress has wavered on unemployment insurance for too long. We applaud the Senate for taking a stance and passing bipartisan legislation that is in the best interest of struggling families and our economy at large.
“Unemployed workers have suffered enough due to the economy and political brinksmanship. Nearly 40 percent of the 10.5 million unemployed workers in this country have been without a job for 27 weeks or more. That is a long time for individuals and families to be unsure of next steps, or their ability to put food on the table.
“Programs like Unemployment Insurance help people make ends meet until they are able to get back on their feet again. Without unemployment insurance, the number of individuals living in poverty would have doubled between 2010 and 2011. Federal unemployment insurance kept 1.7 million people out of poverty in 2012.
“Congress must focus on investing in human capital, job growth, and fair wages to stabilize the economy—not on slashing programs and leaving families to struggle.”
Having passed the Senate, the bill now moves to the House of Representatives. Rev. Beckmann added:
“More than 2 million people have been cut off long-term unemployment assistance. Unemployed workers shouldn’t have to wait another day for this vital aid that enables them to continue searching for a job and put food on the table. If Congress doesn’t extend unemployment insurance, then 5 million will see their benefits terminated this year.”