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Washington, D.C. - This morning the Senate took a major step in reinstating emergency unemployment benefits for 1.3 million unemployed workers. The Senate voted to consider S. 1845, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, by a vote of 60-37. Bread for the World urges the Senate and House to immediately pass this bill. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, federal unemployment insurance kept 1.7 million people out of poverty in 2012, including 446,000 children.
“Last month, 1.3 million Americans found themselves cut off from their unemployment benefits, right in the middle of the holidays. The unemployment rate remains 44 percent higher than it was at the start of the recession, and Congress refused to take action on the matter before leaving for their break,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “An additional 72,000 people are at risk of losing their benefits every additional week that Congress fails to act. The vote today shows that as a country, we cannot, in good faith, let these people suffer.”
The vote came almost a month after Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Deal Act of 2013, which provides some relief from sequestration but did not address emergency unemployment benefits.
“Programs like Unemployment Insurance help people make ends meet until they are able to get back on their feet again,” said Beckmann. “Without unemployment insurance, the number of individuals living in poverty would have doubled between 2010 and 2011.”
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) estimates that if Congress fails to extend emergency unemployment benefits, it will cost the economy 238,000 jobs.
“In order to stabilize the economy, Congress has to focus on investing in human capital, job growth, and fair wages and not on slashing programs and leaving families out in the cold,” concluded Beckmann."
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