Stop The No JOBS Bill

Originally published at UnemployedWorkers.org.

What do you call a bill that would let states seize all of the federal funds now allocated for unemployment insurance benefits to long-term unemployed job-seekers, and use those funds to bailout corporate taxes and state trust funds—instead of paying the benefits that were promised to jobless workers?

You certainly wouldn’t call it a “JOBS” bill.  Yet, quite deceptively, that’s exactly what the sponsors of HR 1745 in the U.S. House of Representatives and S. 904 in the Senate have done.  The Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services (“JOBS”) Act, sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), would set up a scheme to divert the $31 billion in federal funds authorized for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) payments to what they’ve called “better uses,” like tax cuts for corporations.

"Pulling Up the Lifelines" - illustration credit: Bill Richards

(illustration credit: Anne Thompson and Bill Richards)

But because unemployment insurance helps generate real economic activity through necessary expenditures by jobless workers and their families, this bill would actually have a negative economic impact, and likely increase job losses – while cutting or even eliminating unemployment protection for those who do lose their jobs.

Frankly, this is a “No JOBS” bill, and a “No Benefits” bill.  And it is an outrage.

Send a message to Congress:  Hands Off Unemployment Insurance Benefits!  Just Say ‘No’ to the ‘No JOBS’ Bill!

Only six months ago, Congress made a promise to jobless workers that these federal benefits would be there when Congress agreed to reauthorize and fund the  program through the end of 2011 in exchange for a 2-year extension of tax cuts for Americans with the highest incomes.  Now, some lawmakers want to go back on that deal and break the promise to unemployed workers while upholding it for the wealthiest.

That’s just wrong, and you should not tolerate such duplicitous behavior.

Dismantling the federal unemployment insurance program – just like dismantling Medicare – would be like pulling up the lifelines for the millions of workers who’ve been thrown overboard by Wall Street’s ‘Great Recession’.  Never before have we cut back on federal unemployment insurance assistance with the jobless rate still so high.

Yet, powerful corporate lobbies, including many Chambers of Commerce, are willing to take away the funds allocated for unemployment benefits to give corporations yet another tax break.

This legislation has already passed the House Ways and Means Committee, and could be brought to the House floor shortly.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a detailed report on just how seriously flawed the Camp-Hatch bill really is.

Send a message to Congress:  Hands Off Unemployment Insurance Benefits!  Just Say ‘No’ to the ‘No JOBS’ Bill!

Send your message now!  Start by entering your full address—and include “St”, “Rd”, or “Ave” etc in the address field.  Then click “Participate” to send a message to your Members of Congress.

For more on the fight for unemployment insurance, see Mitchell Hirsch’s post “The Poverty-Fighting Effects Of Unemployment Insurance”

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