Casey: Applauds Benefits Extension for Laid Off Workers; Calls for Longer Extension to Prevent Interruptions

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today applauded the Senate vote to continue providing unemployment benefits to laid-off workers who would lose this assistance due to obstruction by Republicans in Washington.  This was the second time this year that benefits were threatened because of Republican opposition.

“Because of callous partisanship benefits are threatened for people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Senator Casey.  “The orchestrated opposition by Republicans in Washington provides more evidence of the need to pass a longer-term extension of benefits through the end of the year.  Laid-off workers struggling to find a job while the economy recovers have been through enough.  They shouldn’t be subject to the whims of politicians looking to score political points.”

In addition to helping laid off workers make end meet, unemployment benefits also provide a boost to the economy.  According to economist Mark Zandi, for every $1 spent on unemployment insurance benefits, approximately $1.63 is contributed to the gross domestic product.

The extension passed by the Senate today would extend the unemployment benefits and the COBRA health care premium assistance program for laid-off workers through May.  This bill must be passed by the House before it can be signed into law by the president.

In January, Senator Casey spearheaded a letter signed by 31 senators urging an extension through the end of the year for unemployment insurance and the COBRA health care subsidy.  The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus.