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Congress Must Preserve Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Congress faces an urgent opportunity to maintain critical relief for families struggling with unemployment, including many parents who have been out of work for an extended period of time. Last December, Congress approved a temporary, two-month extension through the end of February 2012 of long-term unemployment insurance (UI) benefits (benefits received after the regular 26 weeks). Currently, a committee of Senate and House conferees is meeting to resolve the question of extending long-term UI benefits through the end of 2012. Without an extension through the end of the year, up to 5 million long-term unemployed Americans could lose their benefits.1 Nationally, unemployment still remains high at 8.3 percent. Therefore, Congress must avoid proposed new barriers to benefits, such as those in the House proposal, and vote quickly to extend long-term UI benefits through the end of the year.

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