WASHINGTON, DC—Following the obstruction of a vote to extend unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits for people who have lost their jobs, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) denounced the move that will cause these benefits to expire on Sunday. Senator Casey spoke on the Senate floor last night to object.
“One senator is holding up an extension of unemployment insurance and COBRA health care assistance for 62,599 Pennsylvanians who lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Senator Casey. “This type of disregard for the struggles of hundreds of thousands of American families makes no sense. This senseless obstruction will increase the pain of Pennsylvanians who have lost their job and are already struggling to make ends meet.”
According to the National Employment Law Project, 62,599 Pennsylvanians will lose their benefits in March unless these programs are extended.
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) has objected to numerous attempts to pass a 30 day extension of unemployment insurance and COBRA health care premium assistance for workers who have exhausted their benefits. The Senate would then consider an extension of thee programs through the end of the year.
Senator Casey is a leading advocate for extending these programs to provide assistance to workers who have lost their jobs. Not only do these programs help laid off workers pay their bills and afford health insurance, economists also say that these benefits have the greatest dollar-for-dollar rate of return in boosting economic activity.
Last month, 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 premium assistance program. The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus.