Democratic members of the U.S. Senate tried again today to move forward a bill that would extend unemployment insurance for 1.7 million job-seeking Americans.
They read letters from jobless veterans, single mothers and down-on-their-luck constituents who are out of work through no fault of their own. They were asking for a lifeline.
Republicans said no. Twice.
In the Senate, bills need 60 “yes” votes to end debate and advance to a full floor vote. The first attempt got 59 “yes” votes; the second got 55. All but four Republicans voted against the measure.
“Right now, one GOP Senator’s vote stands between 1.7 million people and a lifeline to help them through hard times,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who vowed to continue to try to extend the benefits.
The “Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act” (S. 1845) would have extended benefits until March 31, 2014 and also given retroactive pay to jobless Americans who have lost their unemployment insurance since Congress let the emergency extension expire in December. It even met Republican demands that the extension be paid for by offsetting costs.
An additional 72,000 people are losing unemployment insurance every week. Polls show that a majority of Americans support extending unemployment insurance.
Click here to keep the heat on Congress. Tell your Representative and Senators that we refuse to leave 1.7 million jobless Americans out in the cold.