Millions of families are hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class – and the United States Senate just voted to let them fall.
I’m ashamed that the Senate didn’t extend unemployment benefits yesterday. I’m sickened that my colleagues went home last night knowing that they just cut off a little help for millions of people who have worked hard and who can’t find a job.
And I’m appalled that so many Senators cannot admit the simple reality: we are still in the middle of a jobs crisis. People have been looking for work for months or even years. Many are starting to give up entirely. Young people are beginning to think that there isn’t a future out there for them. Long-term unemployment isn’t just about money; it’s also about losing hope.
These people – our friends, our families, our neighbors – they weren’t the ones who broke our economy. So many people worked hard, played by the rules, and did everything we told them to – and now struggle to find work. They need our help.
We help because we care about people, but we also help because it is good for the economy. The numbers show money put into unemployment goes right back into the economy to help stimulate more demand and more business activity. According to a new Congressional report, in just one week after unemployment benefits expired, our state economies lost $400 million. Extending unemployment makes good business sense.
There’s so much we should be doing to strengthen our economy and rebuild our middle class, and yesterday we took a step backwards. Washington needs to get back to work solving problems – not making them worse – so families can get back to work.
I really don’t get why the Republicans would stand in the way on this issue. I don’t get it, but I’m taking stock – and like many of my colleagues who voted to help people yesterday, I’m not giving up.