The Senate voted last week to begin debate on whether to extend emergency unemployment insurance for the 3.1 million Americans who have recently lost or are set to lose necessary benefits in the coming months. Without congressional action, an estimated 72,000 unemployed workers are expected to lose benefits each week of 2014. This issue is of critical importance to the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, community, which experiences high rates of unemployment and poverty and includes families that are trying just as hard as others to make ends meet during the economic recovery.
A nonpartisan group of analysts has already confirmed that extending unemployment insurance makes fiscal sense. Other economists predict that enacting such a policy will raise our gross domestic product, or GDP, by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, and help Americans get back to work. As our economy struggles to add jobs, it’s time for members of Congress to ensure that all Americans endeavoring to get back on their feet are able to provide their families with food, shelter, and heat during the peak of winter.
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