As I write, the House of Representatives is finally taking up the scaled down jobs bill that includes a continuation of existing federal unemployment insurance programs through November 30 instead of December 31.
But even if it passes the House today, eligibility for the extended federal jobless aid programs will expire — at least temporarily — on June 2nd. Shameless disregard and deficit fear-mongering have delayed action in the House for so long that even if the Senate knew what bill it was getting from the House, it wouldn’t have the time to act before June 2nd. The Senate has nothing scheduled today, and won’t return until June 8th.
The Department of Labor has reported that more than 300,000 workers will run out of benefits by June 12th, the end of the first week Congress returns from recess.
NELP estimates that if Congress fails to restore these programs 1.2 million long-term unemployed will lose jobless benefits in the month of June alone.
More than 15 million Americans are officially unemployed right now — as many, in fact, as were unemployed in 1933 at the depths of the Great Depression. Nearly 7 million have been out of work for six months or more. More than 5 million of them currently rely on the extended federal unemployment insurance programs. And those ranks have been increasing as tens of thousands each week exhaust their state-based 26 weeks of benefits.
Now, eligibility to apply for the extended federal programs, or to apply for the next Tier of benefits for those already receiving them, will start expiring next week.
Needless to say, your Senators and Representatives need to hear from you.
You can reach their offices in Washington today toll-free at 888-254-5087. And you can contact them through their state and district offices before they return to Washington June 8.
Assuming there’s a House vote today, we’ll see who in that chamber is on the side of America’s working families and the unemployed, and who’s on the side of wealthy hedge fund managers and corporations who get tax breaks to ship jobs overseas.