WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, today criticized Senate Republicans for their continuing opposition to extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits during this time of high unemployment. The modest benefits provided by unemployment insurance kept 2.5 million Americans, including 600,000 children, out of poverty last year.
“Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits is the right thing to do. We never should have let it expire at the end of 2013, and I am outraged that the Senate missed yet another opportunity to bring economic stability to millions of Americans,” Senator Cardin said. “Unemployment rates are getting lower and we’re all working to make sure they get as low as we can, but if you’re unemployed and you’re looking for work, it’s still pretty tough out there. Americans who are looking for work continue to face an historically tight job market. We cannot just leave them and their families to fall into poverty because some in Congress prefer gridlock to accomplishing something that helps individuals in need and boosts our overall economy. We need to make sure those benefits are continued.
“Before last month, Congress had never allowed special extended unemployment benefits to expire when the long-term unemployment rate was as high as it is today. Our failure to act is leaving millions of job-seekers in limbo.”
An estimated 22,900 Marylanders lost benefits when the program expired last month. Over the course of 2014, a total of 82,600 Marylanders will lose their benefits if the program isn’t extended. Nearly 40 percent of beneficiaries live in households with children.