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By: Eddie Bernice Johnson

Recently, Congress passed a tough budget agreement that set the funding levels of government for the next two years.  This agreement addressed several issues, but also left 1.3 million Americans looking for work without the support of unemployment insurance during this holiday season.

While the proposed agreement that was recently  passed in the House  does seek to end some of the cuts to programs that benefit senior citizens, students and middle class families,  it fails to address a dilemma faced by many of our fellow citizens who have fallen on hard times during this recovering economy.

1.3 million Americans receiving federal unemployment insurance are scheduled to be cut off.  It is irresponsible and unconscionable that Republicans in the House of Representatives decided not to take action before they left Washington for the year.  It is so contrary to the Christmas spirit to ask people to face the dawn of a new year without knowing how they are going to pay their mortgages, their rents, their car notes or their grocery bills.

Our economy continues to be at the mercy of these Republican-created crises, and only a long-term, responsible, and balanced budget agreement will provide certainty and stability. A meaningful budget proposal should create jobs, protect families, and boost our economy which has been steadily growing under the leadership of President Obama.

Extending insurance to the unemployed would actually benefit our economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In a recently released report, the non-partisan body said that extending unemployment insurance would result in increased consumer spending and job growth in our nation.

The Republican slate is flush with candidates eager to tout their low tax, low regulation records, and Democrats have a thin and inexperienced list touting the party’s core platform of greater spending on education and social justice. Campaign consultants argue over whether these are strengths or weaknesses. Powder dry for the general election.