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Unemployment Insurance and Payroll Tax Cut Extensions Necessary and Welcome

Rabbi Saperstein: It is imperative that we as a nation do our utmost to care and serve the most vulnerable in our society.

WASHINGTON, February 17th, 2012-- In response to the passage of extensions through 2012 of unemployment insurance benefits and the payroll tax cut, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement.

We applaud the yearlong extensions of both unemployment insurance and the payroll tax cut, passed today by the House and Senate. In these times of economic turmoil, it is imperative that we do our utmost to care for and serve the most vulnerable in our society. The extension of UI and the payroll tax cut will put more and much-needed money in employed and unemployed Americans' pockets.

Unemployment insurance benefits help provide a firewall between individuals and the prospect of poverty, hunger, and homelessness. At the same time, unemployment insurance provides a valuable source of economic stimulus: according to the Congressional Budget Office, every dollar spent on unemployment insurance could yield up to $1.90 in economic activity, more than either tax cuts or infrastructure spending in the short term.

Our Jewish tradition teaches us to "speak righteously, champion the poor and needy" (Proverbs 31:9). We will continue to champion the rights and needs of the most vulnerable in our society, and again are pleased to see Congress take action that will provide some measure of relief to millions of Americans.



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