Friday, January 24, 2014

Cleaver on unemployment: These are Americans searching for work

In his weekly EC from DC report, Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver writes about the failure to extend unemployment benefits.

While the political standoff continues in Washington, the number of residents in Missouri’s Fifth District, who have been cut off from their unemployment insurance continues to grow.
  • There are now 1.6 million Americans who have lost this critical lifeline to support their families.
  • These are Americans who are searching for work.
  • Another 72,000 people will lose unemployment insurance every week unless and until it is extended.
I want to thank you for the heartfelt stories you shared with me last week about your personal experiences on this issue. I heard from a 62 year old man who has been laid off time and again in this economy, but who continues to search for employment. Things are so bad now, the family is wondering if they will be able to keep a roof over their heads. A woman pleaded for Members of Congress to meet some real people facing this real crisis and change their perceptions of people who just need a little assistance in this economy. A college graduate who has worked for 20 years, was laid off, and spends each day desperately trying to get back into the workforce spoke of his endless struggle just to keep food on the table for his young children. The stories go on and on.

Again, I say, we can do better than this as a nation. These are our neighbors. These are our friends. These are fellow Americans who have played by the rules, and still lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Extending unemployment insurance is not a game. It’s not a political weapon to be wielded for leverage. It is a tool that began with bipartisan support years ago, one that has received bipartisan support in the years since, and one that should have it now. It’s not only important for these families, it is important for the recovery of the overall economy. And it’s the right thing to do. 

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