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Scrooged: "Horrible" Holiday for 26,000 in Connecticut

PHOTO: About 26,000 people without jobs in Connecticut will lose their federal unemployment benefits on Dec. 28, since Congress went home for the holidays without agreeing to extend them. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
PHOTO: About 26,000 people without jobs in Connecticut will lose their federal unemployment benefits on Dec. 28, since Congress went home for the holidays without agreeing to extend them. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
December 24, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. – A dark cloud is hanging over the heads of 26,000 Connecticut residents this holiday as they face the end of their emergency unemployment benefits on Saturday.

So far, Congress hasn't voted to continue funding the benefits and it isn't likely, since House members already are home for their holiday break.

Lori Pelletier, executive secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, says the emergency unemployment compensation – put in place in the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008 – still is needed for thousands.

She says letting it expire is absolutely horrible.

“I can't think of any other word,” she adds. “It's just compounded that it's around, you know, this time of year."

Nationally, some 1.3 million people will lose benefits. The federal emergency benefits are intended to help people who still can't find a job after state benefits run out.

Barring an agreement in Congress, in July almost 2 million more people across the nation will suffer a similar fate, about 28,000 of them in Connecticut.

By the end of 2014, just over 85,000 Connecticut residents will have lost unemployment benefits.

Pelletier says she is disgusted.

"It's just not what Congress should be doing,” she emphasizes. “Congress, especially the House of Representatives – it's 'the people's house – and you know, it's just shameful."

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that, despite the economy's progress since 2008, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs available.

About 4 million Americans have been looking for work for more than six months.


Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - CT