Many U.S. communities are still experiencing serious problems related to foreclosures, largely due to predatory lending and lingering recession. In a commentary piece, Democratic Reps. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, and Steven Horsford of Nevada blame House Republicans for failing to extend emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, thus keeping millions of Americans in financial hardship and prolonging the foreclosure crisis.
Writing in Roll Call, the lawmakers recommend that Congress immediately extend emergency UI benefits -- or at least pass a measure directing the Federal Housing Finance Agency to freeze foreclosures for six months for individuals who have been denied UI as a result of congressional inaction. The commentary says that more than 2.2 million Americans have lost access to UI after paying into the emergency compensation program through payroll taxes. According to the Census Bureau, the benefits allowed 2.5 million people to climb out of poverty in 2012. The Congressional Budget Office reports that restoring benefits also would result in 200,000 additional jobs this year by increasing consumer demand.
Conyers, Cartwright, and Horsford also point out that loss of basic UI income can create significant social and economic impacts. Foreclosure and evictions can lead to anxiety and suffering, as well as reduced property values and tax revenue.