Taking the ‘Happy’ out of New Year for 1.3 million
There are over 1.3 million Americans, including 23,000 Marylanders who will be missing the “Happy” and perhaps dreading the New Year.
Congress is in recess, and it didn’t take any action in extending long term-unemployment benefits prior to its holiday break.
Those benefits expired this past Saturday, Dec. 28., just three days after Christmas and less than five days before the new year.
All reports say that a bill to extend this Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will be a top priority when Congress returns to session January 6. Our congressman Rep. Andy Harris is in opposition of the extension, saying it “would cost an additional $26 billion, something our nation just cannot afford.”
Mr. Harris hasn’t looked at the numbers in his own district where unemployment rates reached nearly 10 percent in Worcester and Somerset Counties and nearly 8 percent in Wicomico County.
This isn’t the time to be playing politics with peoples’ lives, especially the unemployed. There are enough reasons why charity groups such as Diakonia have to work hard just to keep up with the demand of the hungry, homeless and yes, the jobless.
The state’s unemployment rate was at 6.4 percent. But the lower eastern shore communities are limited in terms of manufacturing and government jobs that keep Beltway communities in and around Baltimore and suburban D.C. employed.
We urgently call on Rep. Harris, his colleagues on Capitol Hill in both houses to make this unemployment extension a reality. To turn your nose on your own constituencies is unthinkable. Yes, it’s a temporary solution. But you have been elected to do the right thing. Find a workable solution for unemployment benefits and better yet, jobs.
Memories are not short here in Worcester County. This is a mid-term election year, and all the congressmen in the House of Representatives face re-election. How can those so elected look those so un-employed in the eye and ask for their trust again?
Not a good way for the country to begin 2014.