This afternoon, I joined a conference call with Americans from around the country about the importance of extending emergency unemployment insurance.
Because Congress has failed to pass legislation extending emergency unemployment benefits, approximately 1.3 million hardworking Americans lost a key lifeline this week. These benefits help support these individuals and their families as they look for work.
If Congress doesn’t take action to extend these benefits soon – as Republicans and Democrats have worked together to do many times before – even more families will be in need in 2014. Nearly 5 million workers who are actively looking for jobs and their 9 million family members depend on this insurance to make ends meet.
And, as I discussed on today’s call, extending these benefits isn’t just the right thing to do for these families, it’s also the smart thing to do for our economy. Independent economists agree that unemployment insurance is one of the most cost-effective ways to strengthen the economy. Americans who get unemployment insurance spend that money, supporting local businesses.
This week we saw a bipartisan vote in the Senate and Senators from both sides of the aisle are moving forward with legislation to extend unemployment insurance temporarily while we figure out a longer-term solution. President Obama is calling on Congress to pass this plan as soon as possible and he’ll sign it right away.
This is an emergency for 1.3 million American families – the time to act is now.