Dems use jobs report to call for UI extension

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used the release of the February jobs report to call on Republicans to support an unemployment insurance extension.

“To help Americans looking for work, we should provide the lifeline of unemployment insurance to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own,” Reid said Friday. “This is simple common sense, and I hope my Republican colleagues will agree.”

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February’s jobs report showed the economy added 175,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate is now at 6.7 percent.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, joined Reid in calling for an unemployment insurance extension. He said the jobs report also revealed that more than 200,000 more people are now long-term unemployed.

“Unfortunately, the number of long-term unemployed — those out of work for more than six months — significantly increased in February,” King said. “Congress must support these individuals by immediately finding a way to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.”

Nearly 1.3 million people lost their long-term unemployment benefits at the end of December. Unemployment insurance was designed to help those looking for work in states that can’t afford to pay unemployment benefits for more than six months.

Senate Democrats have tried to pass multiple extensions with various pay-fors and came just one vote shy of passing a three-month extension last time.

“Unemployment benefits are a vital lifeline for the scores of Americans who have fallen on hard times and are struggling to make ends meet while they search for work,” King said. “I call on my colleagues to put aside the partisanship and answer the call of Americans who are asking us for help. As this jobs report underscores today, we can’t afford not to.”