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Tell Congress to do right by the American worker

A bipartisan group of senators has taken the first step towards restoring unemployment insurance for more than 1.3 million Americans. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's not guaranteed to pass the Senate, and its future remains tenuous in the House of Representatives.

This is a moral question for Congress: Is this a time to show faith in those still fighting their way out of hardship, or is this a time to pull the rug out from under them?

We've come a long way from the depths of the great recession, but now is no time to stop betting on the American worker. Unemployment insurance is not about getting something for nothing—quite the opposite. It's a device to keep people afloat while they fight to find new jobs. Last year alone, 2.5 million people were lifted from poverty by unemployment benefits.

The unemployment insurance program was implemented to help families who were struggling to get back on their feet, and the measure has since been renewed on a bipartisan basis as the economic recovery continues. This critical program expired on December 28th for 1.3 million Americans, and if Congress doesn't act, millions more will lose this lifeline in the coming months. Refusing to extend the program would be utterly irresponsible.

If Congress fails to renew unemployment insurance program, it would inflict more unnecessary harm to our economy. The Council of Economic Advisors estimates it will cost the American economy 240,000 jobs. And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that failing to renew unemployment insurance would drain GDP by 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points in 2014.

Unemployment insurance is a safety net set up to protect us from the crises we can't see coming. And when we fall on tough times, we rally together—we don't turn our backs on one another. That's what unemployment insurance is about.

The Senate is making progress by passing a bipartisan solution, and the House should follow suit. Tell Speaker Boehner to do the right thing—don't stand in the way of this vital program for unemployed Americans.

Tell Congress to act
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