WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged his Senate colleagues to pass an extension of unemployment insurance for another year when the measure comes to the floor this afternoon. Without action, these benefits for workers who lost their job through no fault of their own will begin to expire after today.
“After today, two million Americans and 83,000 Pennsylvanians are forced to worry about losing vital support next month that helps them keep food on the table and pay their bills,” said Senator Casey. “I urge my Senate colleagues to allow for this extension to pass, preventing families and the economy from suffering.”
Last week, Senator Casey organized an effort joined by 28 senators to call for a vote to preserve unemployment insurance for another year. Without action, these benefits for workers who lost their job through no fault of their own will begin to expire today, November 30. The letter sent to Senate leadership urges a continuation of the unemployment benefits program through December 31, 2011.
A unanimous consent request is expected to be made this afternoon to extend unemployment benefits.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, if Congress fails to take action, two million workers will lose their unemployment benefits this December. Each month after that, over one million more would fall off the rolls. By April 2011, six million workers would be without benefits.
Preserving unemployment benefits will not only provide vital assistance to laid off workers and their families, it will have a significant benefit to the economy. Goldman Sachs has said that an expiration of unemployment benefits would cause economic growth to fall by half a percentage point. The Economic Policy Institute has said that extending benefits would increase the gross domestic product by 0.7 percent and create the full-time equivalent of 723,000 jobs. A U.S. Department of Labor report commissioned by the Bush Administration found that unemployment benefits in the latest recession saved 1.6 million jobs per quarter and lowered the unemployment rate by 1.2 percent.