Call For U.S. Senate to Swiftly Pass Extension of Federal Longterm Unemployment Benefits
Call For U.S. Senate to Swiftly Pass Extension of Federal Longterm Unemployment Benefits for Over 1.3 Million Americans
MILLIONS OF AMERICAN WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES HAVE ALREADY LOST UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
On December 28, federal jobless benefits expired for 1.3 million “long-term” unemployed workers. Nearly two-fifths (37.3 percent) of the 10.9 million people who are unemployed — 4.1 million people — have been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer. Furthermore, according to the Department of Labor, 47% of all African Americans who are unemployed are considered “long-term unemployed”. And, although African Americans make up just under 13% of the national population, we represent more than 22.6% of the long-term unemployed. By the end of 2014, another 3.6 million American workers are scheduled to lose their benefits. So, in total, over 4 million American men and women will lose their unemployment benefits, and a quarter of them are African American. These benefits average $1,166 per month, which while not enough to sustain a family of four, helped keep 1.7 million people—including 446,000 children—out of poverty in 2012.
Later today the U.S. Senate will vote on “cloture” of a bill – S. 1845, authored by Senator Jack Reed (RI) – which would extend long-term unemployment benefits for another 3 months. If cloture succeeds (which requires 60 Senators to vote yes), debate on the bill will end and they can move towards an up-or-down vote on final passage. We must encourage every member of the Senate to support this important legislation and allow it to move forward.
Blocking an extension of unemployment insurance is a cruel, unfair, indecent and inhumane action considering real American lives are at stake. While short-term unemployment — the percentage of the labor force unemployed for five weeks or less — is back down to where it was before the recession, unfortunately, for many of the long-term unemployed, the impact of the economic downturn is still being acutely felt. These men and women, in many cases parents trying meet the basic human needs of their families, often live in areas of the country where jobs are scarce. They face a vicious cycle of employment discrimination in which employers don't want to hire them because they've been unemployed for so long, which in turn extends their unemployment and makes it even harder for them to find a job.
THE NAACP URGES ALL U.S. SENATORS TO SUPPORT AN EXTENSION OF FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND TO SUPPORT CLOTURE AND FINAL PASSAGE OF S. 1845