Washington, DC—Today, the U.S. Senate cleared a procedural hurdle that is expected to lead the way for a standalone extension of unemployment benefits. Final passage of the extension is expected later this evening or on Wednesday. U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) released the following statement:
There are more than two and a half million Americans unemployed through no fault of their own. While we have been fortunate in South Dakota compared to other areas of the country, we also experienced a historic spike in the number of workers laid off.
Though they continue to search for a job and want to work, our country is still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression and jobs are hard to find with a national unemployment rate at 9.5 percent.
Congress has never before declined to extend unemployment benefits as long as the unemployment rate was at least 7.4 percent nationally. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a recent study that says that unemployment benefits are an effective mechanism for injecting spending into the economy and generating jobs. Even an economic advisor to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign said unemployment benefits generate $1.61 in economic activity for every dollar spent.
These unemployed workers are trying to provide for everyday needs like groceries. They are just trying to make ends meet and letting them slip through the cracks only hurts us all in the long run.