Editorials from Across the Country Call on Congress to Extend Unemployment Insurance

NATIONAL

USA Today -- Extend unemployment benefits: "The surest way to re-employ people who lost jobs during the worst downturn since the Great Depression is for the economy to regain its feet. One way to make that less likely is to hurt more than a million people who have been struggling to find work. Congress would do well to extend benefits quickly.

New York Times -- No Cheer for the Jobless: "The expiration of the federal benefit program this weekend means that 1.3 million people who had been receiving assistance will be cut off this week."

ALABAMA

Anniston StarMr. Dickens and the GOP: “If Charles Dickens were to be reincarnated and given an iPad to express his freshest thoughts, he could not create more cruel characters than the ones who roam the halls of power in Congress. At the end of this week, long-term benefits for the unemployed will end. A miserly Congress has said, Enough! No more benefits for those Americans struggling to stay afloat.”

ARIZONA

Kingman Daily Miner --  With economy still sputtering, it's time to restore unemployment, for now: "...there's no excuse for removing a lifeline that's keeping people from slipping through the cracks."

CALIFORNIA

Contra Costa TimesCongress must extend unemployment benefits: “In each of the past three recessions, Congress didn't cut off extended aid until the long-term unemployment rate dropped to 1.3 percent. Today it's 2.6 percent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”

Los Angeles TimesWhy not extend jobless benefits again? “The improving economy has helped reduce the rolls of the long-term unemployed significantly, as well as the cost of providing a few extra months of benefits to job-seekers. But the number of applicants still dwarfs the number of jobs available, a harsh reality that can be improved only by economic growth, not by giving less help to those struggling to find work.”

Orange County Register -- Why jobless benefits needs renewing: “When emergency unemployment compensation was enacted in 2008 by President George W. Bush, it took the average jobless American 5.6 months to find new employment. Now, that job search requires an average of nine months.”

The (Sonoma) Press-DemocratHoliday cheer is tough for the unemployed: “GOP Scrooges declared, “Bah, humbug,” to the long-term unemployed just days before Christmas. With lawmakers now home for the holidays, the best hope for millions of Americans hit hardest by the recession might be Marley and his three ethereal colleagues visiting congressional Republicans some night this week.”

Sacramento BeeExtend jobless benefits in fragile recovery: “After the sequester, fiscal cliffs and 16-day government shutdown, Congress is poised, through inaction, to deliver another blow to the nation’s economic recovery and a lump of coal to jobless workers.”

San Jose Mercury News -- Congress must extend unemployment benefits: “The extension should be the first order of business for Congress in the new year.”

Chico News and Review -- The Grinch factor: "In December, the Grinch stole Christmas from more than a million people and then went home to celebrate."

Penalizing the unemployed isn’t smart: "The new year isn’t starting well for 213,793 Californians – their unemployment benefits expired Saturday, owing to inaction by House Republicans."

Fresno Bee --  Rough start to the new year for unemployed: "The GOP doesn't grasp reality — only class-war talking points."

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut PostA lump of coal for the unemployed at Christmas: By refusing to help pass a sorely needed extension of unemployment insurance, these lawmakers are breaking a long tradition of bipartisanship and risking the health and well-being of more than three million men and women across the country trying to find a job in a difficult economy.

(Manchester) Journal-Enquirer -- A shameful lack of action on benefits for unemployed: The unwillingness of Congress to extend an emergency unemployment benefit program to provide out-of-work Americans with additional weeks of jobless benefits is shameful.

FLORIDA

Tampa Bay TimesJobless benefits need extension: “The added weeks of benefits are an essential lifeline for families and will keep more of them from falling through the government's safety net.”

Gainseville Sun -- Out of the workforce: Despite the problem of persistent unemployment, federal emergency unemployment benefits are expiring today. About 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance because Congress refused to extend an emergency aid program for the jobless."

The Palm Beach Post -- Congress should agree to extend federal unemployment benefits: "This has been a holiday season to forget for tens of thousands of Florida’s unemployed."

INDIANA

Courier-Press -- Congress must extend unemployment benefits: "With 4 million Americans out of work for more than six months, long-term joblessness is a crisis."

KENTUCKY

Lexington Herald-LeaderJobless benefits not a “disservice:” President Barack Obama and Democrats are pushing to continue the emergency unemployment program while Republicans like Paul insist that jobs will magically appear once the loafers and shirkers are cut off. It would be for their own good, just as hunger will improve the children whose families are losing food stamps.

Courier-Journal -- Aid Unemployed: "Unemployment benefits for at least 37,000 out-of-work folks in Kentucky and Indiana ended Saturday after Congress, in its haste to pass a short-term budget and get home for the holidays, failed to do anything for them."

MASSACHUSETTS

The Lowell Sun -- Jobless say thanks for nothing: "The result is a cruel blow to families that are already suffering. On Saturday, benefits were allowed to expire for 1.3 million people who have been unemployed more than six months."

Metro West Daily News -- New year no comfort to unemployed: "When this do-nothing Congress returns from a holiday vacation it didn’t earn, one of its first acts should be extending unemployment benefits for those still suffering from the recession."

MICHIGAN

Battle Creek (Mich.) EnquirerUnemployment benefit still essential: “We’ve been treated recently to some good economic news in the form of a decent jobs report, but we’re a long way from a robust recovery.”

Livingston DailyUnemployment aid remains essential: “These are hard times for many Americans. Cutting emergency unemployment compensation will only make them harder, and will hurt the nation’s recovery, as well.”

Lansing State Journal -- Extend long-term jobless benefits: "This makes no sense. The extension should be the first order of business for Congress in the new year."

Detroit Free Press -- Restoring jobless benefits should be job No. 1 for Congress: "Cutting of unemployment benefits only adds insult to misery for these families. It’s bad enough that they can’t find work. Now they will worry about keeping the heat on and putting food on the table."

MINNESOTA

Minneapolis Star-TribuneUnemployment benefits are not a luxury for the unemployed: Even if it weren’t the day after Christmas, one word would spring to mind to describe the congressional Republicans who are unwilling to extend unemployment insurance benefits beyond 26 weeks to 1.3 million unlucky Americans. They’re Scrooges.

MISSOURI

Kansas City Star -- Now is not the time to give up on helping the poor: " All Americans have a stake in helping the poor, making the economy work for all, and restoring a sense of fairness and real opportunity."

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Nashua Telegraph -- Happy New Year; now, get to work: "The votes were there in the Senate last month to extend those benefits when lawmakers passed the budget, but House Republicans showed the long-term unemployed the backs of their hands – and just in time for the holidays."

NEW JERSEY

Newark Star LedgerCongress’ cruel joke on the jobless: “Congress’ pathological cost cutters have drawn up a new double-whammy: By allowing emergency unemployment benefits to expire tomorrow, they’ve deserted 1.3 million jobless workers and sucker-punched the nation’s economic recovery.”

Morris County Daily RecordDon't Scrooge the unemployed: “It is always a miserable holiday season for the unemployed. The uncertainty surrounding one’s immediate and longer-term fiscal circumstances can throw a damper on any celebration.  But for about 1.3 million long-term unemployed this year, that anxiety includes a Damoclean sword over their heads.”

NEW MEXICO

Santa Fe Newmexican -- Extend benefits — jobs aren’t there: "Congress did not extend an emergency program to help the long-term unemployed. Instead, lawmakers left Washington, D.C., to take a holiday rather than find a way to maintain benefits for people."

NEW YORK

Bloomberg News -- Don’t Write Off 4.1 Million People Who Can’t Find a Job: When the U.S. has a tight labor market and jobs for all who want them, the case for extended unemployment benefits can be dismissed. The U.S. isn’t there yet, not by a long way. Congress should extend the benefits for another year. 

Buffalo NewsWeak economy is the wrong time to squeeze the unemployed: Congress should act quickly to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. If not, it will be responsible for cutting the lifeline for victims of the recession and for slowing the already too-slow economic recovery.

New York Daily NewsCruel and unusual: “For too many unemployed Americans, these are hard times — and, unconscionably, Congress is about to make them even worse.”

New York TimesWork and rewards: “Congress should not make things worse. It should not allow federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed to expire as scheduled at the end of the year. Some 4.1 million Americans — 37.3 percent of the nation’s 10.9 million unemployed workers — have been out of work for more than six months.”

NORTH CAROLINA

The Times-News -- Extend help for jobless to find work: "The first order of business when Congress returns to Washington on Monday should be to restore long-term unemployment benefits that were cut when lawmakers failed to act and left town before the holidays."

OHIO

Akron Beacon JournalExtended benefits necessary: Thus, failing to extend federal jobless benefits wouldn’t just be callous, it would burden the fragile economy, aggravating the primary problem, a stubborn lack of demand.

Cleveland Plain DealerCongress should extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed: The limping economy is primarily to blame for these people being out of work so long, not the unemployment benefits they have been receiving.

Toledo BladeDon’t punish the jobless: Further punishing people who are having an especially tough time finding new jobs — whatever their level of skills, experience, and training — won’t solve anything.

Youngstown VindicatorFailure to extend jobless aid will make life tough for many: The Republicans own the pain and suffering that will be experienced by more than 1 million Americans. Fortunately, Democrats aren’t giving up the fight and will take up the issue when Congress returns after the holidays.

OREGON

Portland OregonianCongress should renew extended aid for jobless: To keep that economy and its fragile recovery going, Congress should make a New Year's resolution to restore the program. Hopefully, we will soon be at a time when extraordinary anti-recession measures are no longer necessary.

Eugene Register-GuardThe need for federal unemployment benefits persists: “It should be clear to anyone who’s willing to look at the numbers that the U.S. labor market hasn’t fully recovered from the recession.”

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia Inquirer -- Cutting jobless aid will be costly: "If some of your neighbors don't seem too happy about the new year, it could be because Congress decided to go home and party without extending unemployment benefits."

Harrisburg Patriot-News -- Congress hands a lump of coal to the long-term unemployed: During this season of generosity, Congress can take no greater or more important action than extending these benefits.

Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal -- Congressional Grinches to cut emergency unemployment compensation: Extending emergency unemployment compensation will enable an estimated 1,900 Lancaster Countians to get through what promises to be a difficult winter.

Philadelphia Daily NewsWar on the poor: “While some of us recover from the effects of excessive seasonal spirit, folks without jobs are soon to feel the effects of another kind of spirit: the evil, heartless kind that inspired House Republicans to allow extended job benefits to expire as of tomorrow.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- Hurting the jobless: The benefits cutoff won’t stimulate employment: Further punishing people who have had a tough time finding new jobs won’t solve anything.

Towanda Daily Review -- Area families among those in danger of losing unemployment benefits: Allowing the program to expire now is bad policy that not only will imperil thousands of families, but worsen the economy itself.

The Sentinel -- Jobless benefits should be expanded: "The 187,000 Pennsylvanians affected by Congress’ decision to play Scrooge this year are only a portion of the 1.3 million unemployed Americans eventually affected. It’s estimated that some 75,000 in the state will have lost those benefits as of yesterday."

Harrisburg Patriot News -- The Senate must reauthorize long-term unemployment benefits: "Lest anyone forget, in an uncertain economy, we are all one paycheck away from the brink. And simply casting aside those who are making every effort to return to the job market is not accordance with this country’s best values. It’s just cruel."

TENNESSEE

The Commerical Appeal -- Failure to reauthorize long-term unemployment benefits penalizes people who can't find a job -- "Congress should start 2014 by finding a bipartisan way to restore the federal long-term unemployment benefits that ended for 1.3 million Americans, including 18,000 Tennesseans, in late December."

TEXAS

San Antonio Express-NewsUnemployed left out of budget deal: There seems to be a sense in some quarters that these people — earning no more than 60 percent of their previous average weekly salaries — are using these benefits as an excuse to not seek work. And this ignores the fact that, even in this recovering economy, there are still fewer jobs than people wanting them. 

UTAH

Deseret News -- Extend unemployment benefits: "The notion that large numbers of the unemployed prefer to live on government largesse is more anecdotal than factually substantive."

VERMONT

Concord MonitorA terrible time to cut off unemployment benefits: The economy has improved, but there are still three applicants for every job opening.

VIRGINIA

Virginian PilotUnemployed need that extension: Unemployment insurance can give an American family the means to avoid a descent into poverty. It can allow them to avoid further reliance on the safety net.

WISCONSIN

Appleton Post-CrescentEconomy needs unemployment benefit extension: “There’s another fiscal cliff about to hit Washington — but it’s probably not going to cause the kind of panic in Congress that other “cliffs” and deadlines have. But, to the 1.3 million people who will lose their unemployment benefits in the last week of December, this is a real, personal fiscal cliff.”

Milwaukee Journal-SentinelExtend unemployment benefits: “Congress should extend the benefits until the recovery recovers more fully.”