Congress facing jobless benefits deadline

November 29, 2010

WASHINGTON – When the lame-duck Congress returns to the House and Senate floors Monday, Nov. 29, they will have until midnight Tuesday to prevent a lapse in federal long-term unemployment benefits.

If lawmakers in the House and Senate do not extend those federal unemployment benefits, some two million American workers will lose long-term unemployment benefits beginning Dec. 1.

Previous efforts to extend the benefits failed prior to the November elections as lawmakers fought over the broader question of whether to extend tax deductions for the wealthy.

In a Nov. 28 editorial, The New York Times termed the “lack of regard for working Americans” as “shocking.”

The New York Times warns that the question of “tax cuts for the rich are bound to drive and distort the debate again. Republicans and Democrats will almost certainly link the renewal of jobless benefits to an extension of the high-end Bush-era tax cuts. That would be a travesty. There is no good argument for letting jobless benefits expire, or for extending those cuts,” editorialized The New York Times.

The level of unemployment, says The New York Times in its editorial, is “the worst” in three decades, with 42 percent of almost 15 million jobless Americans unemployed for at least six months.

The UTU National Legislative Office and the AFL-CIO will continue a concerted effort to contact lawmakers urging that they put aside partisan differences and extend federal long-term unemployment benefits.