May 6, 2014

Benefits Cut Off, Unemployed Workers Take to Steps of Capitol to Tell Their Stories

With House Republican leaders refusing for the last month to allow a vote on a Senate-passed bipartisan compromise to renew federal unemployment benefits, unemployed workers cut off of benefits took to the steps of the U.S. Capitol today to tell their personal stories and urge an immediate vote in the House. They were joined by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Representative Sandy Levin of Michigan and a host of members of the House Democratic caucus. read more »

April 7, 2014

Senate Passes Renewal of Federal Jobless Aid - Call Your Representative in the House

The U.S. Senate today voted to pass a bipartisan compromise five-month extension of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), sending the measure on to the House of Representatives on the one-hundredth day since Congressional inaction caused the benefits to be cut off at the end of 2013. With the Senate vote, more than three months of obstruction, delay and foot-dragging were finally overcome by the weight of public pressure from undaunted unemployed workers and their supporters. Now the focus of that pressure shifts to the House, where Republican leaders have stonewalled earlier efforts to renew the federal benefits and have objected to the Senate's bipartisan plan. read more »

March 13, 2014

Senate Agreement Reached to Restore Federal Jobless Aid - Votes Expected Week of March 24

Eleven weeks after the year-end expiration of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and several failed attempts to renew the program since, a bipartisan group of ten Senators late today announced they had agreed to a new five-month, paid-for, retroactive jobless aid extension. The group includes five Democratic and five Republican Senators, who have all signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors of the new bill. With a filibuster-proof super-majority of sixty Senators lined up behind the bill, the Senate is expected to take it up early in the week of March 24. read more »

February 6, 2014

Kirk, Portman, Coats Vote to Filibuster Jobless Aid as Extension Comes Up One Vote Short in Senate

A three-month renewal of federal unemployment insurance came within one vote today of the 60 needed to overcome a Republican filibuster and allow a simple 51-vote majority to pass the extension. Four Republican Senators -- Dean Heller of Nevada, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire -- voted with all 53 Democrats and two Independents in favor of advancing a bill to restore the jobless aid for more than 1.7 million long-term unemployed job-seekers. But without the support of even one more Republican, the measure was again blocked in the Senate. Among the thirty-nine Republicans voting to block the benefits renewal were Senators Mark Kirk of Illinois, Rob Portman of Ohio and Dan Coats of Indiana, all of whom had previously indicated a measure of support for renewing the benefits, which were shut down Dec. 28 by the refusal of Republican leaders in both the House and Senate to consider an extension of the program. read more »

January 14, 2014

Republican Filibuster Blocks Renewal of Unemployment Insurance in the Senate

On two successive procedural votes late today Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted to continue to filibuster legislation to renew federal unemployment insurance, effectively blocking a straight up-or-down vote on any current extension proposal. Minutes earlier, the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters that renewing the federal benefits program was "extremely important to the American people" -- but then led his minority 45-member caucus in blocking further action to restore the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. Democrats vowed to continue to press for an EUC renewal. The program lapsed on December 28 due to Congressional failure to renew it before the end of last year. More than 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers immediately lost the federal benefits. With about 72,000 people coming to the end of their regular state jobless aid each week since, the toll of those losing benefits is now nearly 1.5 million Americans and their families. read more »

January 6, 2014

Nationwide Call-In to Congress Launches to Renew Federal Unemployment Insurance

UPDATE - January 7, 2014 - The Senate voted 60 - 37 to approve moving forward on legislation that would provide for a three-month extension of expired unemployment benefits. Six Republicans joined Democrats and Independents to move the legislation forward. There should be another cloture vote on the bill later this week, before being considered for final passage. If passed in the Senate, it would then go to the House. Jan. 6, 2014 - A nationwide call-in mobilization is now underway to press Congress to renew federal unemployment insurance, and every single call matters! The U.S. Senate returns today and your Senators need to hear from you right now. More than 1.3 million Americans were abruptly cut off of their federal unemployment benefits last week after attempts to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program were blocked by Republicans in both the House and Senate. Another 72,000 unemployed jobseekers lost access to those federal benefits this past week, and an additional 72,000 will lose unemployment insurance this week and every week until the program is restored and lost benefits are paid retroactively. A bi-partisan 3-month reauthorization of federal EUC benefits is set to be the Senate's first order of business. It is co-sponsored by Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and Senator Dean Heller, a Republican from Nevada, and would give Congress time to craft the provisions of a full-year renewal. read more »

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