Congress feels heat to OK Unemployment Extension

With just three weeks left before the New Year, North Carolina’s congressional delegation is feeling stepped-up pressure to pass an extension of federal unemployment benefits.

If Congress fails to extend the emergency federal unemployment insurance program before the holidays, nearly two million Americans would lose benefits. In our state, almost 70,000 North Carolinians would see their benefits expire.

On Thursday, members of the NC AFL-CIO and community activists demonstrated outside the district offices of U.S. Reps. Howard Coble and Renee Ellmers, urging them to vote in favor of the extension.

Parnell Baldwin, who was laid off from Thomas Built Buses in High Point, told reporters the weekly stipend represents a “lifeline” for his family as he continues to look for work:

“Without unemployment insurance, I wouldn’t be able to keep food on the table or a roof over my family’s head,” said Baldwin. “It worries me to think about what would happen to us if Congress doesn’t act now.”

The Economic Policy Institute says allowing the benefits to expire would further harm the nation’s economic recovery, as unemployment benefits are immediately pumped back into the local economy – to cover groceries, rent, fuel, and other necessities. The average weekly benefits check in North Carolina is just under $300.

Congress will resume work on Monday on extending the unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax credit. Both Democrats and Republicans are hoping they can finish their legislative business by the end of next week.

4 Comments

  1. T. Gloer

    December 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you for keeping us updated. I looked all day to find something. We’re all worried as hell that they’ll fail us.

  2. patrick foreman

    December 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I have been unemployed off and on since December 17 2010. I have been really trying to find any job that I could make at least $400 a week if that sounds like i’m asking for alot, please keep in mind that i’m 1 of a family of 4; which include two young children. Before 2004 I was making 25 dollars and hour and after June of 2004 I was making 32 dollars an hour. All these jobs where good paying with pension and medical. I now will take any job, as long as it nets 400 dollars. Without unemployment my family will likely
    be homeless and on food stamps. What would that cast america?

  3. paul

    December 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I’ll tell you what is going to happen Parnel you will become homeless like many other people. Your benefits are going to run out and there are no jobs for you. You will live in your car for a while then end up on the street when your car dies. The police will harass you daily and you will be looked at by your former neighbors like you are some kind of piece of trash. Oh and when you lay down to sleep in the street, they will take you to jail for illegal lodging because once you are homeless you are automatically a criminal. I know all of this because this is my life now. I had a good job and a nice place to live. I decent car etc… all gone now. I am a 99er. Truth of the matter is the government could care less about you. Oh, they will give you food stamps but you as an american citizen will get less than the illegal aliens that are taking the jobs you should be getting. That is the truth of this matter in a nut shell and I wish like hell that the media would report the truth for a change. We are screwed as a nation. Just so you know Parnel If you want a job that pays more than minimum wage you better move to China cause they won’t be coming back here any time soon.

  4. William

    December 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Unfortunately, unless you have money the republican party doesn’t care about you; they’d love nothing more than to get rid of unemployment benefits altogether.