The payroll tax
isn't the only thing that needs extending to help families keep making ends meet. Congress also needs to extend emergency unemployment benefits
Currently, unemployed people in the hardest hit states can get nearly two years of benefits. But if Congress doesn't act, as of Jan. 1 the maximum will drop down to six months. By mid-February, the National Employment Law Project estimates that 2.1 million people would lose benefits.
"I cannot imagine Congress leaving town to go home for holiday celebrations and leaving the unemployed unattended to," says Judy Conti, the federal advocacy coordinator for the NELP. "I can't fathom how that happens."
Thing is, this Congress has done a lot of unfathomable stuff, and an extension won't come without a significant fight. On Wednesday, the AFL-CIO is delivering petitions calling on Congress to extend unemployment; meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation, for instance, already has its people out talking to the press about how extending benefits will add to the national debt and discourage lazy unemployed people from taking jobs. Never mind that in fact there aren't enough jobs for all of the job seekers out there and that unemployment benefits help the economy.