Extending Assistance for Unemployed Americans

First Read: Boehner Ducks On Expiring Benefits: 'I'm Not An Economist'

According to NBC’s First Read, Speaker Boehner ducked on the issue of extending unemployment benefits before they expire at his weekly press conference this afternoon:

“House Speaker John Boehner (OH) said he was unsure of the impact on the economy if Congress doesn't extend unemployment insurance benefits and a payroll tax holiday on the agenda for lawmakers this month.”

“‘I'm not an economist, I don't know what impact it's going to have on the economy,’ he said in response to a question from NBC News at his weekly press conference.”

Well, Mr. Speaker, here are the facts:

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics: “Warned that failure to extend those benefits would make ‘real GDP growth will fall by nearly a percentage point and about one million jobs lost by the end of 2012.’”

Congressional Budget Office: “Households receiving unemployment benefits tend to spend the additional benefits quickly, making this option both timely and cost-effective in spurring economic activity and employment.”

Economic Policy Institute: “The Economic Policy Institute… estimates that allowing the benefits to expire would hurt consumer demand and thereby cost the U.S. economy 528,000 jobs.”

Center for American Progress: “Allowing unemployment benefits to expire will have serious implications. Economists across the board agree that unemployment benefits are one of the most important counter-cyclical economic policies we have because those out of work spend their assistance immediately. In the past few years, according to a detailed study by Wayne Vroman for the Department of Labor, benefits for the long-term unemployed led to the creation of about 700,000 new jobs each quarter.”

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The Census figures show, for example, that unemployment benefits — including federal benefits scheduled to expire at the end of this year and state unemployment benefits that a number of states have recently chosen to pare back — kept 3.2 million people above the poverty line in 2010.”

It’s clear that failure to extend emergency unemployment benefits would have a devastating impact on unemployed Americans, our economy and job creation. So now that he has the facts, we look forward to Speaker Boehner’s announcement that he’s ready to work with us to provide assistance to millions of unemployed Americans.