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Press Release: Today’s Shameful Refusal to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance

FOR RELEASE: February 6, 2014                                                                           

CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,  sniedringhaus@networklobby.org

Washington DC: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, today issued the following statement about the Senate’s vote on emergency unemployment insurance:

NETWORK is incredibly disappointed with the Senate’s continued failure to extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). More than 1.6 million Americans have lost this critical lifeline. There are 2.3 million children who depend on the support of these citizens for food, housing and other necessities. 

By the end of 2014, an additional 2.4 million workers will exceed state unemployment benefits, leaving them with no income.  Congress’s inaction continues to harm those who are actively seeking work and finding none.

In addition to being a non-compassionate decision, this is a very poor economic decision. Only when people have money to spend are they able to make purchases and support businesses.

The Senate attempted to extend these benefits in December, and was blocked then by Republicans who made demands to weaken the benefits. Many Republicans said they would vote yes if these demands became a part of the bill. They were met in this bill:

  • The number of weeks of benefits will be shortened.
  • The benefits are to be paid for.
  • It is only in effect for three months, rather than a year (retroactive to Dec. 28, 2013).

NETWORK lauds the courageous Senate members who voted against their party in order to support the needs of those who are struggling to find employment.

Just this past Tuesday, in his message for Lent, Pope Francis remarked about how many are “plunged into  . . . destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment, which takes away their dignity as breadwinners.” As faithful citizens, we and our government should be standing in solidarity with those going through the prolonged struggle that is unemployment, not stripping them of their last lifeline.

What will those who voted “NO” on this bill say to their own constituents who have lost the benefits?

Be assured that this is not over! We will continue to lobby Congress to do the right thing because today’s vote did not reflect the real values of our nation. We are better than this.

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