Commentary | Jobs and Unemployment

Filibuster Denies Unemployment Benefits to 4.9 million Long-Term Jobless Workers (Not Just 1.9 Million) in 2014

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Almost every story about the Republican filibuster of bills to revive the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program mentions the 1.3 million people who had their benefits cut off on December 28, 2013. But they miss the bigger story: it’s not just those who were receiving checks when the program expired, but also many of the millions of people who are looking for work unsuccessfully right now but haven’t reached 26 weeks yet. And millions more will lose jobs in the next few months and exhaust their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits later in the year. When they do reach 26 weeks, and there are an estimated 70,000 new long-term jobless workers every week, they would receive EUC if the program were renewed. But because of the filibuster, they will get nothing—nothing but the back of the hand from Republicans in Congress who think these millions of people aren’t desperate enough to look hard for work at a time when there are roughly three unemployed for every job opening. When next presented with the opportunity, which could be as early as today, it is crucial that Republicans do the right thing and vote to renew Emergency Unemployment Compensation without delay.

See more work by Ross Eisenbrey