They Are But Three of the 1.3 Million Americans Scrooged Out of Unemployment Benefits by Out-of-Touch Republicans in Congress This Christmas

Washington DC – A New Year’s economic hangover is beginning to set in for the 1.3 million Americans suddenly without unemployment insurance after Republicans in Congress refused to extend the program before jetting home for the holiday break. The good news is the Democrat-led Senate’s first order of business is to restore vital UI benefits, but legislation to make it right faces resistance from Tea Party-beholden Senators and in the Tea Party-led House that has a history of causing self-inflicted economic wounds. If these Republicans have their way, another 1.9 million Americans will lose UI support in the first half of the new year, setting off a wave of negative economic consequences including 310,000 additional Americans thrown out of work and a .4 percent dip in GDP. In just the first week after the program partially expired, over $400 million was sapped from the pockets of unemployed workers and local economies.

Before more needless damage is done to the economy, Americans United for Change is ramping up its campaign to help Republicans understand figure out that it’s time to put America’s economic interests ahead of their own political interests and vote to restore unemployment benefits. A new TV spot called “Reality” begins airing on national cable TV starting today featuring three job-seeking Americans left behind by Republicans and now facing difficult pocketbook decisions, including dipping deep into retirement savings. See their stories and the script below for “Reality” and watch it here:

The new ad comes on the heels of Americans United’s recent national TV ad “Restore UI Now” and polls AU commissioned Public Policy Polling to do last month in 4 key swing Congressional districts (CA-31, CO-6, IL-13 and MI-1), as well as Speaker John Boehner’s home district, which found overwhelming bipartisan opposition to cutting off unemployment benefits at this time. Survey results also showed that voters say they would be more inclined to punish their already vulnerable representatives at the polls next year if they vote to cut off benefits.

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “Republicans’ refusal to restore emergency unemployment insurance is cruel, wrongheaded and counterproductive in addition to being a political loser for the GOP. Long term unemployment is a real problem and the GOP’s failure to extend these emergency benefits does real harm to people, their families and children and is a setback to our economy that will actually increase the number of jobless in this country. Of course coming from the Party which gave us the Tea Party government shutdown, which opposes increasing the minimum wage and which would deny affordable health care to millions of Americans, this latest war on the middle class and those trying to climb it by the GOP should come as no surprise. It’s a war however, that much like it played out in 2012, that they will certainly lose.”

Top 5 Reasons Why a Vote to End Unemployment Insurance is a Vote to Shoot the Economy in the Foot:

Job applicants outnumber job openings 3-1 amid a fragile economic recovery.
UI made the difference between living in poverty or not for 2.5 million people, including 600,000 children, in 2012 alone.
The CBO consistently ranks unemployment insurance as “one of the most effective policies for generating economic growth and creating jobs” because unemployment benefits put money in the pocket of consumers who immediately put it back into their local economies.
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, estimates that each dollar of UI benefits generates $1.55 in new economic activity in the first year.[19] Failure to extend the federal unemployment programs would mean less spending by unemployed workers and their families, which would hurt sales at local businesses and undermine job creation in an already weak recovery.
Long-term unemployment rate is currently twice as high as when the government let prior extended unemployment benefit programs lapse.

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