Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill Passes Key Procedural Hurdle

Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill Passes Key Procedural Hurdle And Moves Toward Final Vote In The U.S. Senate

URGE YOUR U.S. SENATORS TO VOTE FOR FINAL PASSAGE OF S. 1845 TO HELP MILLIONS OF UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS AND THEIR FAMILIES MEET THEIR BASIC HUMAN NEEDS

Earlier today, the United States Senate, by a vote of 60 yeas to 37 nays, agreed to end debate on a bill – S. 1845 – which would extend federal unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed for another 3 months. The Senate must now vote on final passage of the bill, and the House must take the bill up and pass it, and then it must be signed into law by the President (who in a White House briefing attended by several representatives of the NAACP today, indicated his eagerness to sign a bill and address this serious problem).  A vote on final passage of the bill in the US Senate may now come up at any time.

On December 28, during one of the coldest holiday seasons on record, 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.

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 THE ENTIRE U.S. CONGRESS TO SUPPORT AN EXTENSION OF FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND TO SUPPORT FINAL PASSAGE OF S. 1845

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