By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tens of thousands of people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will be affected by the expiration of unemployment benefits.
Democrats in the United States House Committee on Ways and Means released a report on the impact of letting the federal unemployment benefit program expire. According to that report, New Jersey will be the hardest hit per capita of any state.
“Over 90,000 folks in our state, which is about one percent of the state, will lose their unemployment benefits,” says Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr.
Cappelli Jr. says it’s a vicious cycle, the long-term unemployed not being able to get a job, because they’ve been on the sidelines far too long.
“Folks with families, with children,” he says, “and it’s just unfortunate that there seems to be much more partisan bickering in Congress than there needs to be.”
John Dodds with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project blames Congress for not extending benefits, especially during the holiday season and, soon after, cuts to the food stamp program. He says the core problem is spending cuts and not investing in getting more people back to work.
“When there are jobs open, there’s large numbers of people applying for them,” Dodds says. “The odds are stacked against people, and cutting these benefits right now, particularly at the holiday season, is very heartless.”
In addition to the 90,000 in the Garden State, an estimated 87,000 people in Pennsylvania are expected to be affected. And the impact, Dodds says, goes beyond those relying on the benefits.
“That money goes right back into the economy and it keeps people working,” he says. “When you pull it out, there’s less activity and there are fewer people working, so it’s just backwards right now.”
Dodds says they’ll continue to make a push for an extension. A rally in Washington is taking place in January.