Washington D.C. – Congress has failed the unemployed, by going into recess without passing legislation to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. Senate majority leader Harry Reid tweeted, Feb. 12, that the issue would be “revisited” when the Senate goes back into session Feb.25.
More than 1.7 million unemployed workers have been impacted, with the number climbing each week. Many are losing their homes and are unable pay utilities or help feed their families.
This crisis has been building since December, 2013, when Congress failed to extend long-term jobless benefits. Republicans are generally opposed to programs that serve working and low-income people. Democrats by and large support an austerity agenda that aims to cut federal spending. They failed to insist on the inclusion of Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits in December’s budget agreement.
Many states continue to have extremely high unemployment rates. California has an 8.3 unemployment rate and in Illinois it is 8.6. Rhode Island has the highest unemployment rate coming in at 9.1.