Letter to the Senate on the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014 (S. 2149)
April 01, 2014
On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association, and the students they serve, we urge you to Vote Yes on the bipartisan Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014 (S. 2149) introduced by Senator Reed (D-RI) and Senator Heller (R-NV). The need to enact emergency legislation for the long-term unemployed in our country is a problem that should never have arisen in the first place and has gone on far too long. Protecting unemployment insurance is critical to ensuring family stability and, consequently, the well-being of thousands of children in our public schools. Votes associated with this issue may be included in NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.
While educators and support professionals would like to see a longer-term solution, we think S. 2149 is a good first step in ensuring the security of the many families who are in their most desperate hour. Long-term unemployed individuals receive neither a paycheck nor unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, rising gas and food prices are making it even harder for them to meet their families' most basic needs. Since 2009, the receipt of unemployment benefits is associated with 25% fewer children with an unemployed parent living in poverty (Center for Poverty Research).
S. 2149 is a critical lifeline for the millions of Americans who need to keep a roof over their head and food on the table while they continue their employment search. According to a study by the Urban Institute, on an average month in 2013 approximately 2.3 million children lived in a home where a parent had been seeking work for 26 weeks or more.
It is past time for Congress to extend unemployment insurance; the timing is vital for the millions who lost their benefits on December 28, 2013. For far too many of those workers and their families, those benefits were their only life-line. We urge you to act now, VOTE YES on S. 2149.
Director of Government Relations