When Congress returns after the midterm elections, representatives will only have one week and a few voting days to extend unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans. The federal unemployment program which remains the sole source of income for millions of idled Americans – left jobless through no fault of their own – is scheduled to expire on November 30th.
“This is obviously a narrow window for Congress to act to keep the programs going,” says the National Employment Law Project. “Today’s unemployed families and the nation’s economic recovery urgently need for Congress to prioritize reauthorization of the federal unemployment insurance programs during this brief window. Neither jobless workers nor the economy can afford another round of prolonged debate and destructive delay, yielding another lapse in benefits.”
Indeed, unemployment benefits have been allowed to lapse three times by Republicans and some Conservative Democrats in Congress, most recently in June when benefits were suspended for a total of 51 days, leaving 2.5 million long-term jobless Americans helpless. This time an estimated 1.2 million workers per month are expected to be cut off if Republican opponents again block efforts to renew benefits before the Nov. 30th expiration.