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Congressional Republicans Are Out of Touch: Majority of Americans Support UI Extension

Posted on by Karina

In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll released today, more than 6 in 10 Americans (62%) support Congressional action to extend unemployment benefits for jobless workers.

On July 1st, the House passed the Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act to restore and extend emergency unemployment benefits through November 30th. These benefits not only are a much-needed lifeline for jobless Americans and their families, they also provide a proven boost to our struggling economy. 83% of Republicans opposed this bill.

Support for extending emergency unemployment benefits in the news today:

Las Vegas Sun Editorial — Let Them Eat Cake:

Republican opposition in Congress has stalled legislation that would extend much-needed benefits to unemployed workers. While Republican leaders complain about the cost of extended benefits, it is not merely a budgetary issue. The bill's critics also question the value of unemployment payments, and some have been as brazen as to call the benefit an “entitlement.”…

Despite arguments to the contrary, this isn't about people being spoiled or lazy. There aren't jobs available. This is about ideology: The right-wing crowd doesn't like government, and they are willing to let millions of Americans suffer to get their way. That is tragic.

Akron Beacon Journal Editorial — Economic Calculus:

Without an extension of unemployment benefits, county welfare offices in Ohio have become the last stop for thousands of workers unable to find jobs in a difficult economy. Requests for cash assistance, food and medical help are piling up, overwhelming local officials…

The trouble is, without prompt action, unemployed workers losing their federal benefits will be forced sharply to curtail their spending, damaging the fragile economic recovery. The amount of cash assistance available in Summit County for a mom, dad and child, $434 a month, is about the size of many families’ car payment. Unemployment benefits move through the economy, each dollar generating $1.60, stimulating economic growth.

Dumping the unemployment problem on county welfare offices is clearly not an option. Congress should drop the political posturing to act quickly on a six-month extension of unemployment benefits. The deficit and debt do need to be brought under control. By stimulating the economy in the short run, the long-term task is made easier.

Washington Post Editorial — Extension of Unemployment Pay Should Be Congress' Priority:

…Drawing the deficit line at additional unemployment benefits is shortsighted, because, if anything, the economy could benefit from more stimulus spending, not less. Unemployment benefits, which are most apt to be immediately plowed back into the economy, are about the most stimulative form of spending. Extending them is both fiscally sensible and morally decent.

…Unemployment benefits…are an essential lifeline. The Senate needs to extend them.

…Passing this package is the right thing to do, and fiscally prudent too.

Support for extending emergency unemployment benefits from experts and economists this week:

Dr. Christopher Thornberg, Founder, Beacon Economics:

Unemployment benefits are one of those direct forms of stimulus for an economy. You pull that money away and it gets pulled straight away from direct spending.

Dr. John Husing, Vice President, Economics & Politics, Inc.:

I don’t know what … our elected representatives are thinking. I don’t know what kind of country cuts off unemployment benefits.

Dr. Gary Burtless, Brookings Institution:

Every week this goes on, a few hundred thousand more lose their benefits. It's a scandal that it is taking Congress so long to do this.

Dr. Daniel Hamermesh, Economics Professor, University of Texas:

The original, and I believe continuing, purpose of unemployment insurance is to maintain consumption of the unemployed–to prevent hardship. With 45 percent of the unemployed out of work more than 26 weeks, by far the highest percentage since the 1930s, consumption maintenance seems to argue even more strongly than usual for the wisdom of re-extending benefits.

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