“Today’s Senate vote approving a temporary extension of federal unemployment insurance, retroactive to January 1st, provides at least a ray of hope for the 2.3 million unemployed jobseekers who have suffered the loss of this critical aid—a loss that has plunged families into even greater hardship. That hope would be crushed if the Republican leadership in the House denies the members of that elected body, and the American people, a simple vote on the Senate-passed bill.
“Congress should not have allowed federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation to expire at the end of 2013, and the foot-dragging and obstruction in the Senate that preceded today’s vote went on far too long, inflicting needless damage on people’s lives and job prospects. Today marks the one hundredth day since the federal benefits lapsed. Any further delay would be unconscionable and cruel. With yet another Congressional recess scheduled at the end of this week, House Speaker John Boehner must bring the Senate bill to the floor, and the House must act to approve it immediately.
“Today, we heard from David Hezlep, 55, of Dayton, Ohio, who has been looking for work since losing his senior management position in a corporate downsizing last spring. David has this message for Speaker Boehner:
‘As a fellow Ohioan, a U.S. Navy veteran and a lifelong Republican, I implore you, Speaker Boehner, to give the House of Representatives a vote on the Senate-passed bill to restore federal jobless aid. I am one of the 2.3 million Americans and more than 65,000 Ohioans who have been cut off from this modest but critical aid while we're looking for work. More than three months have passed since the benefits were cut off, and now the previously unimaginable is all too real. I, like so many others, am on the verge of losing everything. Savings are gone, I am desperate and virtually destitute. Do the right thing, Mr. Speaker, and do so without delay: give us a vote on the Senate bill to renew federal unemployment benefits. Give us a chance to get back on our feet.’
“With millions of Americans like David depending on action by the House of Representatives to restore the modest income support federal unemployment provides, it would be immoral for Congress to leave town yet again without acting. The Speaker must bring this measure to the floor for a vote—up or down, yes or no. The least that these families, who have lost so much through no fault of their own, deserve is a simple vote in the House of Representatives.”
The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org.