Congress Must Extend Unemployment Insurance (Louise Slaughter)

On December, 28, 2013, more than 1 million Americans lost a vital source of income when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired. Another 1.9 million more will lose access to unemployment insurance in the first six months of 2014 if Congress does not act. It is shameful that Congress has not renewed unemployment insurance and extended a helping hand to those in need.

In late December, I made a motion in the House of Representatives to bring a renewal of unemployment insurance up for a vote. Although every single Democrat voted in favor of my motion, only one Republican Member of Congress voted ‘yes’, which caused my motion to be defeated. On January 9, 2014, I made a similar motion in the House of Representatives, and once again my attempt to renew unemployment insurance was defeated by the House GOP.

Watch Louise motion to extend unemployment benefits on the House Floor

Renewing unemployment insurance should not be a partisan issue. In these tough economic times, unemployment compensation is often the only source of income for Americans who have been trying to get back to work – and back on their feet. Furthermore, unemployment insurance is vital to preventing our economy from sliding backwards. In 2012 alone, unemployment insurance prevented 2.5 million people, including 600,000 children, from falling below the poverty line. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that a one-year extension of unemployment insurance would create 200,000 jobs and increase our nation’s gross domestic product.

Our nation must not turn our backs on over three million Americans who are trying every day to get back to work. I will continue my fight to renew unemployment insurance, grow our economy and create new jobs in Rochester and across the United States.

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