A new bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate to restore Emergency Unemployment Compensation for an additional 5 months, and it would allow retroactive payments to when it was discontinued in December. This means that the 2,000,000 workers and 200,000 veterans who have been living without any source of income for the past 3 months will finally have financial support again.
What’s important about the extension is that it does not include harmful “pay-fors” that were being negotiated earlier. These included creating new restrictions on the Child Tax Credit, and preventing eligible recipients from drawing both unemployment insurance and disability insurance.
While these were suggested in the name of being fiscally responsible, cutting aid and opportunities for one struggling family in order to provide solutions for another is irresponsible and unacceptable. Programs that support families in poverty are not loop-holes or extravagant spending.
The extension of unemployment insurance would specifically aid the long-term unemployed; those unemployed for longer than 26 weeks who face more difficulty in finding and landing a job. It becomes harder to prove your skills are up-to-date, and employers who have no shortage of applicants are reluctant to hire the long-term unemployed in favor of those just leaving a job.
Long-term unemployment has remained much higher than any previous time when unemployment insurance was extended, and it highlights the disconnect between our market recovery at the top with the daily struggle of families at the bottom. Chad Stone of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that Unemployment Insurance stabilizes consumer spending during economic downturns, and that restoring Emergency Unemployment Compensation is simply good policy.
Next, the bill will be voted on in the Senate, and it still needs to be introduced into the House. Organizations like the Coalition on Human Needs are calling on supporters to encourage their Senators to vote in favor of the bill, and to urge their Representatives to introduce the bill.
Enter your zipcode here to easily find and contact your member of Congress.
“2 Million Long-term Unemployed Now Without Jobless Aid” Fact Sheet from the National Employment Law Project “Get on Board with Renewing Unemployment Benefits” by Chad Stone “Senators Reach Deal on Unemployment Insurance” by Arlette Saenz “No, Rand Paul, There’s No Reason to Cut Unemployment Benefits” by Rand Ghayad