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Support Builds For Unemployment Benefit Extension

Support Builds For Unemployment Benefit Extension - Congressional Democrats and more than 100 jobless workers rallied yesterday in Washington in support of an extension of federal unemployment benefits.

Federal jobless benefits expired yesterday after a failed attempt in the Senate to extend benefits for a year. Rep. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) blocked the vote on the measure because it wasn't paid for.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was at yesterday's event and spoke about the Republicans' desire to extend tax cuts to high-earning Americans without offsetting the cost while insisting that an extension of jobless benefits be paid for.

"We have to pay for unemployment insurance, we don't have to pay for tax cuts for the rich," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "Tax cuts do not create jobs. They haven't throughout the Bush administration. Unemployment insurance creates jobs and does not add to the deficit."
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was also on hand to lobby for extended unemployment benefits.
"To those who are standing in the way of this extension, I say: the time to put politics aside is here. The welfare of millions is at stake," she said. "If Congress fails to act on an extension of the UI program 2 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance by the end of the year. And millions more could join their ranks in the coming months. As a nation, we simply cannot let this come to pass. Politics should never punish those who need help most, and it should never get in the way of sound policy. Congress must pass this important extension. Americans — all of them — are depending on it."

The lapse in federal unemployment benefits will immediately impact 800,000 people. Another 2 million long-term unemployed will lose benefits by Jan. 1, according to the Labor Department. Another 6 million unemployed workers will lose benefits by spring if Congress does not act. "Millions of families are going to struggle to put food on the table or put gas in the gas tank," Solis said.

Support Builds For Unemployment Benefit Extension

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