Schumer: Help the unemployed, raise minimum wage

By Matt Porter
By Julianne Peixoto

January 24, 2014 Updated Jan 24, 2014 at 7:44 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Senator Charles Schumer lays out his opinion on two of the topics expected to be addressed in president Barack Obama's State of the Union speech next Tuesday.

More than one million people lost their unemployment insurance on December 29, and Schumer believes now is the time to renew their benefits.

"Unemployment insurance is hardly going to make them live a good life, but at least they can keep their car, keep their phone, keep their house, while they're looking for a job."

Congress is debating passing an extension, but Republicans say continuing to extend benefits could encourage people to remain on unemployment.

People on unemployment extensions are required to show they are looking for work.

Schumer said taking away their unemployment completely could take away their means of looking for a job.

President Obama is expected to also push for a higher federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour.

Schumer agreed and said the current value of today's minimum wage has not matched the pace of inflation.

"If you work 40 hours a week and work hard, you should be able to provide a life of dignity to you and your family," Schumer said.

Schumer said increasing the current minimum wage by $2 would bring its value back to what it was 30 years ago.

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