Public Supports Help For Long-Term Unemployed (With Video)

Dave Johnson

Republicans have so far blocked extending unemployment assistance for the long-term unemployed (over 26 weeks, even less in several states) and it ends on December 28. But there may be some hope. Polls show the Americans overwhelmingly support extending this assistance and Democrats are launching a full-on effort to get them to come around and help their fellow citizens.

Huffington Post has the polling story in House Republicans Opposed To Extended Unemployment Benefits Could Pay The Price In 2014: Poll. The firm Public Policy Polling looked at four key Congressional districts and found that 63 to 68% of voters in those districts support extending this assistance and by a 9-point margin say they will be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes this. This breaks down as 79-85% of Democrats, 58-64% of
independents and 48%-60% of Republicans. (Click here for full poll results.)

Meanwhile, Americans United for Change will run this ad on national cable TV over the holidays.

“You know who had a Merry Christmas? The richest 1% — that’s who. Republicans in Congress made sure of that, protecting billions in taxpayer giveaways. And for those facing tough times? Republicans stripped 1.3 million Americans of jobless benefits … kicking them to the curb during Christmas. … Merry Christmas, from the GOP.”

In last week’s post, Who Will Fight To Help The Unemployed? I cited a new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) that found that the share of unemployed people receiving jobless aid will the lowest level on record (since 1950) — just one in four — if Congress doesn’t renew long-term unemployment aid. The rest — three of four unemployed — are left on their own. (See the full report here.) Please click through to that post for facts and statistics on how providing these long-term unemployment benefits helps these people, the country and our economy.

Americans United has a petition at americansunitedforchange.org/extendui: “Petition: Tell Republicans Shame on Them For Leaving 1.3 Million Americans Out in the Cold By Failing to Extend Unemployment Benefits”

How do Republicans say “Happy Holidays?” By throwing 1.3 million struggling unemployed Americans out in the cold and cutting off what could be their only life line – federal unemployment insurance. These are people who, like all Americans, desperately want to work and, through no fault of their own, have spent more than six months looking for work to no avail and now, thanks to Republicans lack of compassion, are about to be cut off from their unemployment insurance when their benefits expire just before the New Year. What’s more, another 1.9 million Americans will lose this support in the first half of the new year.

How did this happen? Republicans in the House of Representatives left town without finishing their job and left hanging those who need it most, but managed to protect tax breaks for the richest one percent and big corporations.

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