House Republican Leaders Run Out the Clock On Senate’s Renewal of Federal Jobless Aid

Speaker Boehner Kills Senate Bill, Abandons Long-Term Unemployed

The following is a statement by Christine L. Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on the refusal of House Republican leaders to allow a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan five-month jobless aid renewal as the measure’s May 31st expiration date looms this week:

“It’s business as usual in the House of Representatives, which means that yet again, lawmakers will go home for another recess having done nothing to help the long-term unemployed. Though the Senate passed a bi-partisan extension of federal unemployment insurance that met all the conditions laid out by Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders, nearly two months have gone by without House leadership so much as even considering putting the bill on the floor, where it surely has the votes to pass. As a result, nearly three million long-term unemployed job-seekers, and tens of thousands more each week, remain without a lifeline to sustain their families while they look for work.

“The five-month retroactive extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation crafted during nearly three months of negotiation in the Senate will hit its expiration on May 31st. Though the House is in session this week, this bill will receive no consideration, just as the long-term unemployed continue to receive no consideration from so many of their elected representatives.

“It is easy to chalk up this failure to Congressional gridlock, but we should resist the urge to be so glib with the lives of those struggling just to get by, who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It is House Republican leaders and not some indeterminate “gridlock” who have chosen to run out the clock on the Senate’s unemployment extension. They have turned the familiar adage “do no harm” into “do nothing but harm” – with tragic consequences for millions of America’s long-term unemployed workers and their families. This deliberate refusal to act is a failure of leadership, of policy and most of all, of basic morality.”

Emma Stieglitz
(646) 200-5307

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