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Vargas works on timely unemployment extensioin

Swift passage of an emergency unemployment extension kept Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) at work on gaining bipartisan support this week. Forty eight freshman House Representatives, and Vargas, united together in opening an opportunity for Speaker JOhn Boehner (R-OH) to agree to set an extension for a vote.

He took the House floor to tell congresmembers immediate action on the extension of unemployment insurance until April 1st is necessary. "The House Majority has chosen a path of inaction." Waiting to pass a bill will not give American workers a chance to keep up a decent life, he said. The delay "leaves Americans who are facing financial hardship even more vulnerable."

Stopping the retreat from the income guarantee passed in the American Taxpayer Relief Act in 2012 will succeed only after the Republican leadership agrees to finally end negotiations work on unemployment. Vargas told his fellow representatives an extension is a priority. "Proviing unemployment insurance should not be a partisan issue."

Vargas' city in California, San Diego, still has not recovered its labor market enough to give the long term unemployed out of a job more than 27 weeks relief. Near a third the unemployed, the twenty thousand long term unemployed in San Diego county have to handle financial difficulties without income support. Like cities across California, the fate of their families remains unknown.

U.S. Labor Secretary Perez, after counting up the jobs added in 2013 at 2.2 million jobs, reminded Americans to not forget the workes unable to depend on their own productivity. "The long term unemployed remain a persistent challenge."

Work on passing an extension in the House will not begin again until after the members return to session on Monday at noon. The House version of the Emergency Unemployment Extension Act introduced by Rep. John Tierney (MA), and supported by Vargas, waits on an opportunity to take a roll call vote.

This is an On The Watch Take.