House Dems say 3 million cut off from jobless benefits

House Democrats continued their push on Monday for a renewal of emergency unemployment insurance as the number of the long-term unemployed cut off from benefits eclipsed 3 million.

House Ways and Means Committee Democrats said that they have tracked an estimated 3 million individuals who have lost their benefits since the program expired at the end of last year.

The number of the long-term unemployed remains around 35 percent of all workers without jobs.

Separately, Ways and Means ranking member Sander Levin (D-Mich.) urged Speaker BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE to agree to put an extension on the House floor, possibly alongside a transportation or tax extender bill.

“Hardworking Americans desperately seeking new jobs have exhausted their savings, seen their homes foreclosed on, let bills go unpaid and run out of money needed to just put gas in their cars to go on an interview,” Levin wrote in an op-ed on Sunday.

"The Speaker wanted unemployment benefits tied to job creation. Two pieces of jobs legislation are pending action by Congress. ... We should include a six-month extension of unemployment insurance alongside either of these legislative packages."

In April, the Senate passed a five-month bill that was designed to run through May but the House never took up the bipartisan legislation. 

On Wednesday, House Democrats will join faith, labor, civil rights and non-profit leaders to share stories about those who have lost their unemployment benefits.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) said on Monday that "Congress must act and act now."  

"Republican obstruction has blocked a restoration of this emergency insurance since December, and those who have been struggling to find work the longest are bearing the heaviest cost of Congress’s inaction," he said.

“The Senate acted in a bipartisan way to restore emergency unemployment insurance in April, and I urge House Republicans to work with Democrats to do the same in the House without delay, or else an additional 72,000 Americans who have been desperately seeking jobs will, on average, continue to lose access to this insurance every week. We must not let that happen."