A roundup of some of the more unusual items that crossed our desk recently.
Office of the Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer
January 7, 2014
Congress Must Restore Unemployment Insurance Benefits For Millions of Americans Looking for Work
The first priority for the 2nd session of the 113th Congress should be an extension of federal emergency unemployment insurance for people still searching for work. Unfortunately, House Republicans have ignored the American people by refusing to bring legislation to the Floor for a vote that would restore benefits for millions still struggling to find work while our economy continues to improve. Instead of continuing the dismal record of the Do-Nothing Republican Congress of 2013, House Republicans should take action on critical legislation, including passing an extension of unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed.
IMPACT OF NOT EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS:
1.3 million: Number of Americans who lost their federal unemployment insurance on Saturday, December 28, including 20,000 military veterans.
2 million: Children in families receiving federal unemployment benefits in 2012.
1.9 million: Additional number of Americans expected to lose their unemployment insurance coverage in the first six months of 2014 as they exhaust their state benefits and are unable to receive federal unemployment insurance - with 72,000 losing their benefits each week during the first half of 2014.
$400 million: Amount taken from American job seekers nationwide and state economies due to the expiration of federal unemployment insurance, according to an analysis by Ways and Means Committee Democrats http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/press-release/new-economic-analysis-400-million-drained-state-economies-unemployment-benefits-week.
200,000: Number of jobs our economy could lose if unemployment insurance is not extended, according to the Congressional Budget Officehttp://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/economy/191929-cbo-report-lifts-dems-argument-for-extending-federal-jobless.
$1.55: Amount each dollar of unemployment insurance generates in new economic activity in the first year, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analyticshttp://www.economy.com/dismal/pro/article.asp'cid=226001.
2.5 million: Number of people, including 600,000 children, who were kept above the poverty line in 2012 because of unemployment insurance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities http://www.offthechartsblog.org/snap-and-unemployment-insurance-kept-millions-out-of-poverty-last-year-census-supplemental-poverty-measure-shows/.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS REFUSE TO HELP AMERICANS SEARCHING FOR JOBS:
Rep. Tom Cole: "You're always gonna have the argument that at some point people are losing benefits. But that's the point, it was meant to cope with an extraordinary situation. But that situation has been dealt with." [Buzzfeed, 1/3/14http://www.buzzfeed.com/jacobfischler/house-still-divided-on-unemployment-benefits-extension ]
Rep. Matt Salmon: "The fact is... these government programs, don't create one job." [CBS Face the Nation, 1/5/14http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-transcripts-january-5-2014-reid-king-salmon/ ]
Rep. Dave Reichert: "[The federal UI benefits have] stifled new job creation." [Seattle Times, 1/2/14http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022586484unemploymentinsurancexml.html ]
SOME REACTIONS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY:
USA Today Editorial: "Extended jobless benefits have always ended after past recessions, and these will, too. But the reality is that the job market is still bad enough -- especially for people who have been out of work the longest -- that it is simply cruel to cut off help now. Cruel and senseless, because the benefits are a modest but effective way to help nurse the economy back to health." [1/5/14http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/01/05/jobless-benefits-unemployment-insurance-senate-editorials-debates/4330673/ ]
New York Times Editorial: "One of the first votes the Senate plans to take when it returns Monday is on restoring unemployment benefits to 1.3 million people who lost them on Dec. 28.... Nothing could show the priorities of the two chambers -- and the slog that lies ahead this year -- better than these votes. At one end of the Capitol, lawmakers are actually trying to help people in deep financial distress, continuing a vital Washington practice. The other end is holding a meaningless symbolic vote, designed solely to embarrass the Obama administration and continue its politically motivated attacks on the health law." [1/5/14http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/opinion/republican-disdain-for-the-jobless.html'pagewanted=print ]
Los Angeles Times Editorial: "Rather than cutting off benefits to those Americans now, Congress should let the program phase out naturally as unemployment drops to more reasonable levels. With Democrats proposing a way to renew the extended benefits without increasing the deficit -- by cracking down on tax evaders-- there's no good reason for Republicans to say no." [12/11/13 http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-unemployment-benefits-20131211,0,4287611.story#axzz2oKeDvx3L ]
Sacramento Bee Editorial: "The November jobs report was positive news going into the holiday season. Congress shouldn't ruin it with a squeeze on unemployment benefits. As Dr. Seuss teaches, they might find their hearts grow three sizes larger." [12/10/13http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/10/5986298/editorial-extend-jobless-benefits.html ]
Tampa Bay Times Editorial: "Extending unemployment benefits does not encourage malingering and joblessness, despite what congressional Republicans claim. Society gains when workers are given the ability to look for a job commensurate with their skills and experience -- which was the point of unemployment insurance." [12/9/13http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-jobless-benefits-need-extension/2156314 ]
Contra Costa Times Editorial: "A year-long extension would cost about $25 billion, but it's money that will be quickly spent -- creating about 300,000 jobs, economists say, to help end the need for the benefit." [12/25/13http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci24783873/contra-costa-times-oakland-tribune-editorial-congress-must ]
New Jersey Star-Ledger Editorial: "Congress' pathological cost cutters have drawn up a new double-whammy: By allowing emergency unemployment benefits to expire tomorrow, they've deserted 1.3 million jobless workers and sucker-punched the nation's economic recovery." [12/27/13http://blog.nj.com/njveditorialpage/2013/12/congresscrueljokeonthejob.html ]
Connecticut Post Editorial: "By refusing to help pass a sorely needed extension of unemployment insurance, these lawmakers are breaking a long tradition of bipartisanship and risking the health and well-being of more than three million men and women across the country trying to find a job in a difficult economy." [12/21/13http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/A-lump-of-coal-for-the-unemployed-at-Christmas-5085624.php ]
Livingston Daily News Editorial: "We've been treated recently to some good economic news in the form of a decent jobs report, but we're a long way from a robust recovery. Now is not the time to allow unemployment benefits to expire." [12/18/13http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20131219/OPINION01/312190011/Unemployment-aid-remains-essential ]
Buffalo News Editorial: "Congress should act quickly to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. If not, it will be responsible for cutting the lifeline for victims of the recession and for slowing the already too-slow economic recovery." [12/11/13http://www.buffalonews.com/opinion/buffalo-news-editorials/weak-economy-is-the-wrong-time-to-squeeze-the-unemployed-20131211 ]
Akron Beacon Journal Editorial: "Thus, failing to extend federal jobless benefits wouldn't just be callous, it would burden the fragile economy, aggravating the primary problem, a stubborn lack of demand." [12/10/13http://www.limaohio.com/news/editorials/581598/Akron-Beacon-Journal:-Extended-benefits-necessary ]
San Antonio Express-News Editorial: "But extending unemployment benefits in a period in which the nation is still short jobs is not about grousing. It's about fairness and refusing to make those least able suffer the most pain. And it is also about not dealing a blow to a still-recovering economy by taking money out of Americans' pockets." [12/13/13]