Why Aren't Republicans Listening To Catholic Bishops On Unemployment Benefits?

Isn't it interesting, how Republicans pick and choose which moral positions they decide they want to support? Too bad they don't knuckle under to pressure from the Catholic church on policies like this - and that the church doesn't work quite as strenuously to push social justice issues as it does with those having to do with reproduction:

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been quietly lobbying Congress to keep extended unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless. It's common for faith groups to lobby Congress on economic issues. Catholics, however, are better known politically for their strong opposition to abortion.

On Monday, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives urging them to focus on the economic security of workers at year's end.

"When the economy fails to generate sufficient jobs, there is a moral obligation to help protect the life and dignity of unemployed workers and their families," Blaire wrote. "Therefore, I strongly urge you and your colleagues to find effective ways to assure continuing Unemployment Insurance and Emergency Unemployment Compensation to protect jobless workers and their families."

Democrats and Republicans are battling over legislation that would reauthorize federal unemployment insurance for people who exhaust six months of state benefits. Since 2008 the federal government has provided extra weeks of benefits, eventually totaling 73 in some states. Democrats have said they want to keep the extra weeks, while Republicans have pushed a plan to cut extended compensation down to 33 weeks. Both sides say want a reauthorization; without an agreement of some kind, as many as 1.8 million workers will be left hanging in January.

Blaire's letter doesn't specifically endorse either approach, though it does note that the average jobless spell duration topped 10 months in November.

Rev. Paul Sherry, director of the Washington office of a religious labor advocacy nonprofit known as Interfaith Worker Justice, said his group opposed the Republican approach, which in addition to shortening benefits would allow states to drug test the jobless.


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