CONGRESS NEEDS TO STAY HERE IN WASHINGTON, DC AND FINISH ITS WORK WHEN IT COMES TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS OF OUR JOBLESS WORKERS
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement today after Congress left Washington, DC for the holidays without addressing those who will lose their unemployment benefits on December 28th:
“Unless Congress acts, 1.3 million jobless workers will lose their unemployment benefits on December 28th. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, an additional 3.6 million workers will lose access to benefits in 2014.
“This is NOT a partisan issue: The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was signed into law in 2008 by President Bush when the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent and the average duration of unemployment was 17 weeks. Today – after the last two good months of job growth – the unemployment rate is 7 percent and the average spell is 36 weeks. Long-term unemployment has been growing because the job market remains so bad.
“There are still 3 unemployed workers for every job opening. 20 million Americans want a full-time job and can’t find one. 69 million people lived in households that received these benefits since 2008, including 17 million children. 40 percent of the people who received EUC made $30,000-$75,000 a year before they became unemployed; 20 percent were college grads. EUC and regular unemployment benefits mean people have money for gas, food, clothes, and to pay their rent or mortgage while they look for work.
“Unemployment benefits help communities as well as families: Unemployment tends to hit certain areas hard – a plant lays off people and then surrounding businesses start laying off people. Unemployment benefits bring needed funds into local communities and help grocers and others keep their workers employed. If EUC goes away, an estimated 240,000 jobs that are supported in this way will also disappear.”