On the Senate Filibuster of Emergency Jobless Aid Extension

The following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on the Senate’s failure to bring to a vote a three-month extension of emergency unemployment compensation.

“It is disgraceful that once again, a minority of senators—all Republicans—have filibustered a vote on extending federal unemployment insurance for nearly 1.7 million long-term unemployed workers struggling to get by in this harsh winter without this vital lifeline of support. Although this is the second time that all of their conditions for renewing the program have been met, and a strong bi-partisan majority of senators wants to vote on a plan that would provide a fully-paid-for short-term renewal of benefits, the minority continues to block the vote, all the while saying they want to help those struggling with long-term unemployment.  Talk is cheap and in this case, the minority’s actions speak volumes.

“Most Americans believe that one of the most important roles of government is to help provide for us when, through no fault of our own, we fall on hard times and need modest support to stay afloat. A minority of senators, however, apparently doesn’t share that value.

“To most Americans, Senate Republicans’ refusal even to allow a vote on federal unemployment benefits is just one more reason congressional approval ratings are in the tank. But for the millions of long-term-unemployed tax-paying workers facing the prospect of no assistance from Congress at a time of great need, this latest example of indifference and recalcitrance is nothing short of cruel.”

Emma Stieglitz
(646) 200-5307

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