Senate Unemployment Vote Not a Solution
Job Creation Must Be at the Forefront of Fighting Poverty and Improving the Economy
(Washington, D.C.) – This week the Senate passed a bill to restore federal funding for extended unemployment insurance benefits for Americans who have been without a job for more than six months. The extension would retroactively restore benefits for a period of five months, from January 2014 until May. It is not clear if or when the House will vote on this bill, as it faces strong criticism because it does nothing to help the weak economy, and because these new benefits would expire almost immediately after enactment.
Long term unemployment continues to be a crisis – with 3.7 million Americans unable to find work for an extended period. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, while other categories have returned to normal levels, the number of long-term unemployed continues to remain high, which is different from previous recessions and suggests that there may be a structural component to the problem. The U.S. Labor Department recently reported that more than 7 million Americans are forced to work only part time in order to rejoin the workforce. Instead of continuing to stand in the way of job creators and people who want to work, the Administration should work to reduce the tax and regulatory burden that is harming economic growth.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
"The Senate leadership has decided that instead of focusing on measures to allow private sector job creation, they will focus on one-time bandaids that avoid the real challenges. This debate should be about helping working families; instead it seems to be centered on partisan goals. Unemployment insurance will help workers for a few weeks, but what they need even more is economic opportunity. Not only is the Senate doing nothing to help, the leadership is refusing to consider amendments that might begin to limit counter-productive regulations and spending.
Does the Senate leadership believe that joblessness is the new normal? Too much government is stifling economic growth – and forcing millions of Americans to give up their dreams of finding rewarding and meaningful work. They should stop debating unworkable bills that don't address the real issues. The people are asking for real solutions, instead of token gestures."