Despite a slight increase in jobs created in the month of May, unemployed workers living in poverty are still struggling to make ends meet. There are still scores of people who have been laid off and are unable to find employment. The national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent. Over 15 million workers are unemployed and a record 6.8 million have been unemployed for more than six months.
Congress has been working on legislation to combat the unemployment problem in America and to provide much needed support to jobless workers. It has become increasingly important that Congress fund federal programs such as unemployment insurance (UI), COBRA (federal assistance to purchase health insurance for jobless workers and their families), the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Emergency Fund (short term financial assistance for qualifying families), and FMAP (federal matching funds for states’ Medicaid programs). These programs provide a safety net for workers who are unable to find work in an economy where there is only one job opening for every 6.4 job seekers. These benefits determine whether a family falls deeper in to poverty or keeps its head above water.
The Senate is now at a critical moment and is expected to vote on the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213) sometime this week. Important safety net and job creating programs must be included in the legislation in order for it to be the most effective. In addition, timing is of the essence. Jobless workers need these programs in order to weather the storm of the recession and start to pull themselves out of poverty.
Take action and tell your Senators to support provisions within The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213), which will extend unemployment insurance and COBRA through the end of 2010 and provide critical funding for FMAP and the TANF Emergency Fund. In addition this bill should provide funding for important programs like the National Housing Trust Fund (funding for the creation and renovation of affordable housing) and summer youth jobs programs.
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