If Congress fails to act by Dec. 31, nearly 2 million job hunters will lose their emergency unemployment aid in January alone. And without action in 2012, that number will rise to 6 million.
Lawmakers need to be reminded that these aren’t statistics—they’re real people, like Mickey from Battle Creek, Mich. He told us his story: “I have worked since I was 15 years old. I’ve been laid off before but never have I had this much trouble finding employment....I have always given my best to my job and have gone the extra mile….I am BEGGING you to extend unemployment benefits and the payroll tax and act on it soon.”
And Elizabeth from Kamuela, Hawaii, has struggled, in spite of her advanced degree: “Even with credentials as an advanced practice nurse, I went 2 and a half years without full employment. I lost my house, had a bankruptcy and would have starved had it not been for unemployment benefits.”
Stories like these illustrate why we all need to do what it takes to make sure the voices of America’s jobless workers are heard loud and clear. So Thursday, we’ll bring more than 2,000 unemployed workers and clergy to Capitol Hill. As long-term jobless workers and clergy meet with Congress, we’ll be backing them up at local congressional offices and public spaces across America.
America has never experienced the record stretch of high unemployment and long-term joblessness that plagues our economy today—not since the data were first collected in 1948. And Congress has never cut back on federally funded unemployment insurance when unemployment was anywhere near this high for this long.(1)
It’s time to demand obstructionists in Congress put a stop to the partisan bickering and reauthorize extended unemployment insurance aid—without delays or strings attached.