Extending unemployment benefits tops list of must-do activity in the Senate to protect middle-income Americans
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, spoke from the floor of the U.S. Senate today to urge his colleagues to come together and pass an extension of unemployment insurance benefits for Americans still caught in the effects of the economic downturn.
“Before Congress adjourns for the year we must extend unemployment insurance benefits for those who have lost their jobs due to the economic downturn. Our economy is still in a very difficult state. It’s harder for someone who is unemployed to be able to find a job. The right thing to do is to acknowledge that the number of weeks of benefits should not be reduced at this critical time. There are many families for which this is the lifeline, the difference between being able to pay their rent , keep their home from going into foreclosure, or take care of their family’s needs. Failure to extend unemployment benefits would affect about six millions of American families, each of whom is a member of a local community that would be adversely affected.
“Unemployment insurance is an insurance program. During good times we pay more into the system. During economic downturns like we have just experienced, we take the money out of the system. It's counter cyclical so that we help our economy as well as help our families. According to economist Mark Zandi, for every $1 we put into the economy for unemployment benefits, we get back $1.61.”
On extending the payroll tax credit for workers, Senator Cardin added: “We must get this done. We don’t want middle-income families see on January 1 that their take-home pay has been reduced. We don’t want additional burdens placed on middle income families.”