From AFL-CIO Blog
Tea Party Republicans are leading the charge to reduce coverage and throw up barriers to benefits like GED requirements. And they’re even threatening to force people who are jobless—through no fault of their own—to endure humiliating drug tests just to get survival aid.
It’s great news that the economy added jobs last month. But for working America, the economy still is in the gutter. We’re climbing out of a deep, deep hole. Unemployment remains sky high, and it’s projected to stay there through the next year and beyond.
But Tea Party politicians are holding America’s jobless hostage to their extremist agenda.
We have to force Congress to renew unemployment insurance benefits again—and this time, the stakes are higher than ever before. Tea Party politicians are pushing plans to:
- Slash federal unemployment funding by more than half in the states with the highest unemployment.
- Let states whose governments have been taken over by the Tea Party divert premium money away from unemployment insurance as we know it—and use it to experiment with right-wing social engineering programs (like “workfare,” where people are forced to work for free to get unemployment benefits.)
- Mandate drug-testing requirements. Politicians are ready to humiliate people who are out of work—by making them urinate in a cup to get benefits they paid for and are entitled to.
- Make jobless workers pay for their re-employment services. People who are out of work through no fault of their own and have paid into the system aren’t asking for a handout—but a helping hand. Now, the radical lawmakers want to make them pay for the privilege.
- Deny benefits to people who never got their high school diploma—they’d have unemployment insurance taken out of their paycheck, but would get nothing should they lose their job. Shame!
- Cut federal employee pensions—or freeze wages for yet another year. Federal workers already have done more than their fair share to balance the budget—while the richest 1% of Americans have been asked to do absolutely nothing.