Congress Needs To Renew Unemployment Protections Now

Nov 20, 09 Congress Needs To Renew Unemployment Protections Now
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Just when you thought it was okay to praise Congress (in spite of Republican delay tactics) for their passage of a law that would add an additional 14 weeks of unemployment aid, we find out about a boneheaded oversight.  Unless another set of extensions are renewed by December 31, 2009, people unemployed after July 1, 2009 will not be eligible for federal extensions.  These extensions were designed to assist people who had exhausted all of their state benefits.  Over one million people are in danger of losing their unemployment aid.

When Congress added an additional 14 weeks of aid, many people became eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.  Considering the state of our social safety net, this is very generous.  However, this oversight could directly harm people hanging on by a thread.  A lapse of even a few weeks can lead to hunger, eviction, and an inability to pay for healthcare costs.

Although Congress is busy with war, healthcare, and a number of other pressing concerns, renewing these extensions should become a top priority now.  We cannot allow our fellow Americans to get sick, go hungry, and possibly become homeless.  With the strong likelihood of a jobless recovery, it is essential that Congress extend unemployment insurance now.

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