Preserve a Vital Safety Net for Laid-Off Workers and Promote Economic Growth: Support H.R. 5618, The Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010

Media 07.16.10

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to support H.R. 5618, The Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010. H.R. 5618 would extend the filing deadline for extended unemployment insurance benefits until Nov. 30, 2010. The most recent extension of these provisions expired June 2, 2010.

Extending unemployment benefits will help the economy recover while providing badly needed assistance in today’s historic economic crisis. As recently documented by the Congressional Budget Office, the extension of jobless aid also provides the most significant boost to the economy and job growth of any policy option being debated by Congress, and has been responsible for creating or preserving 800,000 jobs this year alone. In addition to providing an urgent safety net for laid-off workers, the extension of unemployment benefits has a positive stimulative effect because the money is quickly recycled through the economy. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that each dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.90 in economic stimulus.

The need for these benefits is great. In May, up to 46 percent of the unemployed had been out of work for more than 27 weeks. But these problems are not affecting all communities equally; there are dramatic disparities by race, age, and single-parent households. As documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while overall unemployment in May was unacceptably high at 9.7 percent, among African Americans the jobless rate was a staggering 15.5 percent, among Latinos 12.4 percent, among households headed by a single mother 11.6 percent, and among youth 26.4 percent. The National Employment Law Project estimates that 2.5 million workers have been cut off jobless benefits since the provisions expired in June, causing states to lose millions per month in stimulus spending.

Without even the minimal income that unemployment insurance benefits provide, the risks to family stability, health, and safety are dangerously high. With the jobless rate at 9.5 percent, a level not seen since the deep recession of the early 1980s, Congress should enact the extension now.

We urge you to support H.R. 5618. If you have any questions, please contact Corrine Yu, Senior Counsel, at 202-466-5670, or Nancy Zirkin at 202-263-2880.


Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin 
Executive Vice President