The 1.3 million Americans struggling to find work are one step closer to getting relief today after the Senate approved a procedural vote that will allow debate to begin over whether to extend unemployment insurance through March 31, 2014. If the bipartisan measure is passed, it will reinstate unemployment benefits that ran out shortly after Christmas Day.
As the Senate prepared for the vote and the proceeding debate, President Obama gathered with reporters, advocates and supporters at the White House to make the case for why Congress should pass the extension immediately. NCLR was also in attendance at the White House event, which featured our very own Alicia Criado, who was asked to join the president on stage.
Watch video of the full remarks below:
Even as the overall unemployment rate inched down at the end of 2013, more than 37.3 percent of the nearly 11 million unemployed had been out of work for 27 weeks or longer or long-term unemployed. While Hispanics make up 18.4 percent of the long-term unemployed, they are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to apply for unemployment insurance benefits or to receive them once they apply. Nevertheless, the extension is still critical in the Latino community, which as of November 2013 has an 8.7 percent unemployment rate. That’s higher than the national average of 7 percent.
In a letter to Senators, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda highlighted the unemployment problem in the Latino community and asked Senators to help Latinos by passing an extension of benefits. It was signed by NCLR Vice President Eric Rodriguez, and Javier Palomarez, both co-chairs of the NHLA Economic Empowerment Policy Committee.
“With Latino unemployment at 8.7 percent, above the national average of 7 percent, Latinos know the hardships of living through periods of unemployment. A timely extension of unemployment insurance benefits will be critical for many Americans, who have already been squeezed by multiple rounds of federal budget cuts in recent years, leading to less support for job training, child care, rental assistance, and education.”
While this first vote was a positive step forward, passage is by no means certain. We need your help to make sure Congress knows the Latino community is watching and waiting for action. Join our Mobile Action Network today by texting JOBS to 62571 and you’ll be signed up for all the latest news and information you need about issues impacting working families.