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US bishops urge extension of unemployment benefits

July 20, 2010

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In a July 19 action alert sent via e-mail, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development urged Catholics to call their senators to support the extension of unemployment benefits.

“As early as tomorrow, July 20, the Senate will vote on extending unemployment insurance benefits through November,” the alert begins. “Sixty votes are needed for cloture, which will stop a threatened filibuster, and allow the bill to be signed into law. In the last 48 days, nearly 2 million families have lost the financial support afforded them by unemployment insurance as a minority in Congress have refused to extend benefits.”

The alert continues:

The nation continues to recover from the recession that began in 2007, which is one of the worst economic periods for American families since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The national unemployment rate continues to hover near ten percent; 15 million Americans are officially unemployed; and 44 percent (six million people) have been out of work for more than six months. This is the highest number of long-term unemployed since the United States began keeping that data in 1948. For every job opening, there are five applicants.

Since the recession began, the U.S. economy has lost 8.5 million jobs, which means with new entrants to the workforce, eleven million new jobs must be created to return to the pre-recession unemployment rate of five percent. Although the economy has begun creating jobs, it will take a long time for jobs to be available for all workers who want them.

The alert had not been posted on the US bishops’ web site as of the morning of July 20.


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Show 12 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: ncduquesnay6341 - Jul. 28, 2010 8:07 AM ET USA

    I gave up on that cast of characters quite a while ago.

  • Posted by: ncduquesnay6341 - Jul. 28, 2010 8:07 AM ET USA

    I gave up on that cast of characters quite a while ago.

  • Posted by: impossible - Jul. 21, 2010 12:15 PM ET USA

    If the USCCB were't controlled by their liberal majority which elected most anti-life President ever, they would (1) join the Church in fighting socialism and (2) encourage Catholics to ask Congress to lower taxes and excessive regulation. One has to question USCCB motives. It is an arm of the DNC.

  • Posted by: unum - Jul. 21, 2010 10:18 AM ET USA

    I am waiting to hear the USCCB's position on bankrupting the nation. Bankruptcy is a subject that the bishops know something about.

  • Posted by: Ken - Jul. 21, 2010 3:21 AM ET USA

    Another reason why the USCCB should be disbanded. Sadly, their proclamations have become so political in nature they mean absolutely nothing to me as a practicing Catholic. God help us.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jul. 20, 2010 11:46 PM ET USA

    Bible Study: 2 Thess. 3 6-15. Continuing unemployment benefits to infinity minus one day creates incentives not to work. Specific legislative direction on which there are a several paths in accord with Catholic moral teaching on employment policy undermines the authority of bishops to speak on matters when the teaching on a moral matter is clear -- such as euthanasia or denial of health care for at risk unborn children -- and there is only one choice in accord with the Catholic faith.

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jul. 20, 2010 9:34 PM ET USA

    Shouldn't Bishops be calling on churches and Catholics everywhere to donate to Catholic Relief Services who in turn would help families out of work. We shouldn't be sitting on the sidelines simply writing letters and saying 'let the government do it'. How does taking money forcefully from people through taxes cause them to open their hearts and give freely and generously as our Lord instructs us? Where are the connections among people, God, the church...?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2010 7:16 PM ET USA

    Where Caesar actually has a portion of authority (sticking to a budget and protecting our borders) the bishops try to exercise undue influence. They are themselves more and more a bunch of meddling bureaucrats.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jul. 20, 2010 6:57 PM ET USA

    Their excellencies do not worry about paying for the benefits. The bill for this, as for most of what they and their Democratic allies want, goes to our grandchildren.

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Jul. 20, 2010 6:20 PM ET USA

    It would be edifying to see us Catholic conservative Christians on the same page as our evangelical conservative brethren who, in regard to the immigration issue, have put the kindness demanded by our common Christian beliefs on a higher plane than partisan political considerations. Kudos to our Shepherds for leading the flock in the right (i.e., correct) direction. Mike Harrison Toronto Canada

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2010 5:56 PM ET USA

    At what point would the US Bishops SUPPORT the cutting off of unemployment? I think we all know that ANY point would be viewed as heartless, cruel, and unChristian. The Government being the proper instrument of charity.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jul. 20, 2010 5:25 PM ET USA

    And if these same unemployed people never find employment, as the economy worsens, the bishops will continue to call for unemployment compensation for them until the middle class finally goes broke paying for all the freebies the bishops call for. It's all about "social justice" or redistribution of the wealth from the middle class to the "poor." Spare us O Lord from your bishops and their Marxist ideas!