WASHINGTON—Federal lawmakers should stay on the job through Christmas Day unless Congress approves an extension of unemployment benefits, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said today.
Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked over extending benefits that are running out during the holiday season for tens of thousands of Ohioans - and 2 million nationwide - who have been unemployed for up to 99 weeks.
Republicans say they would vote for an extension if it wouldn't add to the federal deficit. Many in the GOP want to use unspent stimulus funding to pay for the added benefits.
Jan Leibovitz Alloy, 58, of Columbus, who lost her job in August as a researcher and vice president at a private social-services agency, was with a group of unemployed people from Ohio and other states rallying on Capitol Hill today for the extension.
Although her benefits haven't yet expired, Leibovitz Alloy said her unemployed brother's have. She came to Washington with a message for lawmakers: "Nobody's getting rich on unemployment. What they are doing is paying for the necessities, and the money is going back into the community."
Nearly 40 percent of jobless Ohioans - 115,679 workers - will exhaust their unemployment by the end of the month unless Congress acts. By May, nearly all of the 291,998 now receiving benefits will fall from the rolls, according to projections by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Brown and other Democrats contend that granting the extension would be a short-term boon to the still-struggling economy and spur skittish consumer spending. Every dollar granted in unemployment benefits sparks about $1.60 in economic activity, while every dollar in tax cuts for wealthier Americans prompts 35 cents in corresponding spending, the Ohio Democrat argued, citing private economists' estimates and Congressional Budget Office figures.
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