Majority of Senate Democrats back federal unemployment extension

"Unemployment insurance is an essential component of our ongoing economic recovery and provides support to workers and their families who have been laid off through no fault of their own as they search for work.”

More than 2 million would lose their federal benefits on Dec. 30 without congressional action.

ADVERTISEMENT
So far, no Republicans have expressed support for an extension, which would probably wind up being attached to a package that would halt tax hikes for most Americans and delay scheduled spending cuts. 

The plan has growing support among House Democrats, and the backing of the White House. 

In the past, Republicans have backed extensions, although they have been a battle to pass. 

Unemployed workers can receive upward of 47 weeks of federal benefits, based on a state's jobless rate, on top of between 20 and 26 weeks of state benefits. 

Without an extension, only state-level benefits would be available. Advocates are pushing for the continuation of the plan passed in January, which would curtail benefits as unemployment rates drop in the states.  

“We need to work together to create more job opportunities," Reed said. 

"But until the labor market improves, preserving UI is one of the most cost effective ways to help struggling families and businesses in our communities.”

A Congressional Budget Office report found that more than 300,000 jobs would be created by continuing the program, which accounts for $1.10 in economic activity for every $1 the government spends. 

A yearlong extension is estimated to cost about $30 billion. 

"Extending unemployment insurance helps sustain demand for local businesses during economic downturns by helping people pay their bills while they look for a new job," Reed said. 

"Cutting off UI now will sap buying power from this economy and could severely hinder the recovery."

Besides Reed, 41 senators signed the letter: Ron Wyden (Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownAuthor of Hillbilly Elegy encouraged to run for Senate: report Overnight Finance: Trump moves to begin NAFTA talks | Dems press Treasury chief on taxes, Dodd-Frank | Biz leaders want tax changes to be permanent Mnuchin mum as Dems press for answers on tax reform, Dodd-Frank MORE (Ohio), Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), John Kerry (Mass.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Tom UdallTom UdallVA eyes building closures to boost care under Trump GOP senator: FCC must explain 'manhandling' reporter Senate Dems warn Trump admin shows 'pattern of hostility' to press MORE (N.M.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenators push for enhanced powers to battle botnets Five things to know about Joe Lieberman Special counsel appointment gets bipartisan praise MORE (Conn.), Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE (W.Va.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Al Franken (Minn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Jean Shaheen (N.H.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharCruz: Jokes about me in Franken's book 'obnoxious' The Hill's 12:30 Report Dem senators accuse Trump of purposefully holding back information MORE (Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezThe Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations The way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump MORE (N.J.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Jim Webb (Va.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Bill NelsonBill NelsonExpanded laptop ban alarms travel industry Why does air travel seem so miserable? Offshore drilling opponents gear up for Gulf fight MORE (Fla.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerHow Trump can score a big league bipartisan win on infrastructure Overnight Finance: Dems introduce minimum wage bill | Sanders clashes with Trump budget chief | Border tax proposal at death's door GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (N.Y.), Mark Warner (Va.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Daniel Inouye (Hawaii).