Extend Unemployment Benefits Now!

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Payroll Tax Legislation
December 19, 2011

House Republicans have a decision to make. They can continue standing with the wealthiest one percent by taking directions from the most extreme of the Tea Partiers, or they can come to their senses and start standing up for working people and paying attention to the jobs crisis. Our economy has yet to fully recover, and millions of Americans are still out of work through no fault of their own, yet the two things House Republicans seem to be most passionate about are protecting millionaires from having to pay taxes and cutting unemployment benefits for the jobless.

While the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Senate Republican and Democrat leadership and approved overwhelmingly by 89 senators is not ideal, it would give millions of working families some assurance as they head into the holidays that their unemployment benefits will not be cut off in January. Now is not the time to play politics with the lives of so many. Speaker Boehner needs to lead his caucus – not the other way around – and that means passing this modest compromise to help millions of families and restore a minimal amount of balance to our economy.

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