Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged lawmakers to embrace a package that could avert the so-called fiscal cliff, noting that 2.1 million Americans have already lost federal unemployment benefits as a result of Congressional inaction. â€śFrom this point on, it is lose-lose,â€ť Feinstein explained, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. â€śMy big worry, is, a contraction of the economy. The loss of jobs, which could be well over 2 million in addition to the people already on unemployment.â€ť
Indeed, the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group, projects that â€śmore than 2 million AmericansÂ will stop receivingÂ benefits after Dec. 29, when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will cease to exist.â€ť The benefits have keptÂ 2.3 million out of povertyÂ last year alone, and the Congressional Budget Office projects that a full, year-long extension would lead to the creation ofÂ 300,000 new jobs.
The initiative requires recipients to search for a job while receiving payments, and one study found that unemployment recipientsÂ search harder for jobsÂ than those who are not receiving money from the program.
Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)Â demanded spending cutsÂ to pay for the program, which would cost $30 billion. Democrats have been pushing for a full extension of benefits.
This post was originally posted on Think Progress on December 30, 2012. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Igor Volsky is the Deputy Editor of ThinkProgress.org. Igor is co-author ofÂ Howard Deanâ€™s Prescription for Real Healthcare ReformÂ and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox Business, Fox News, and CNBC television, and has been a guest on many radio shows. In 2011, Forbes named Igor one of their top 30 under 30 in Law & Policy. Igor grew up in Russia, Israel and New Jersey and graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He was previously the Health and LGBT editor at ThinkProgress.