Just in time for Christmas, on December 28 the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program will expire unless Congress takes action. This means that just days after Christmas, on January 1st, 1.3 million people stand to lose their unemployment benefits. Did you just shiver?
Sandy Levin (D-MI) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced a bill last month to extend the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program through 2014, but so far, our Republican-led House is too busy with hearings on ObamaCare to address matters of poverty stricken children and veterans.
The Ways and Means Committee Democrats released a new report today showing the devastating effects on military veterans and children of unemployed Americans set to take place upon the expiration of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
The Committee summarized the key points:
More than 20,000 veterans would immediately be cut off from federal unemployment insurance the week of Dec. 28 if Congress does not reauthorize the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.
As many as 2 million children could be impacted by ending the federal EUC program.
Without the federal EUC program, less than a quarter of unemployed Americans would have received unemployment benefits, the lowest UI recipiency rate for Americans looking for work in more than 50 years.
JP Morgan did their own research and they found that the expiration of the EUC benefits could lower labor force protection, which would in turn depress the unemployment rate, and any further decline in the unemployment rate could complicate the Fed’s communication efforts. “Another potential effect is through reduced spending by benefit recipients. EUC currently pays out benefits at around a $20-25 billion annual rate; should that flow dry up, consumer spending could take a hit in 1 Q, perhaps subtracting around 0.4% -pt from annualized real GDP growth in that quarter.”
In other words, it’s not just the bleeding heart liberals with compassion for their fellow citizens who support extending unemployment benefits. But shouldn’t starving children and veterans without jobs be a matter of concern to us all? Surely Republicans can take a break from one of their four hearings on ObamaCare this week to handle renewing these benefits. There is time, if they chose to use it.
“Millions of unemployed Americans and their children would be left out in the economic cold just days after Christmas unless Congress acts to extend this vital program,” said Representative Levin. “This report just adds to the urgency that confronts this Congress over the next two weeks. Congress must act.”
But unless they get a lot of pressure for failing our veterans (forget poor children, they can’t vote and Republicans have shown that they don’t care), they won’t. Remember, they won’t even sit down to budget reconciliation or let immigration reform come up for a vote. They’re very busy “bloviating” instead of legislating.
Image: PBS Frontline Poor Kids
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.