We need to be allowed to vote immediately on extending emergency unemployment insurance. And I am urging the Speaker of the House to let Members do just that.
Hardworking men and women in Missouri's Fifth District are struggling. They have played by the rules and have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. To cut off their lifeline right now, while they continue to look for work and still must feed their families, is mean-spirited and just plain wrong.
At the end of December, 1.3 million Americans lost unemployment insurance, including 20,000 Missourians. Failure to act will cost an estimated 1,362 Missourians their benefits every week for the first six months of this year. Right now, almost 3,500 residents of Missouri's Fifth District have been cut-off from this critical lifeline. And the number continues to grow.
The Senate recently voted 60-37 to begin consideration of a bipartisan three-month extension of unemployment insurance. This is the first step toward reinstating the vital economic assist for the 1.3 million Americans who were cut-off during the holidays.
It is now time for the House Republican leaders to let us vote. This extension is necessary not only for Missouri families, and those around the nation, but also for local economies and businesses. To say it is a disincentive to looking for work is, quite frankly, disingenuous.
Since the expiration of the Emergency Federal Unemployment Compensation program 22,619 Missourians have lost their benefits, and that number grows every day. This averages $235.04 a week in income. These are dollars desperately needed to feed their families, pay the heating bill, and keep a roof over their heads.
We, in Congress, need to work together and focus on expanding economic opportunities for the middle class and creating jobs for all hardworking Americans. This extension needs to happen -- and it needs to happen now.
Facts about Federal Unemployment Insurance Program:
- Was signed by President George W. Bush and took effect in 2008.
- Has been reauthorized several times as the economy continues to recover.
- 1.3 million job seekers were cut off on December 28th as the program expired.
- Without an extension another 72,000 people nationwide are estimated to lose unemployment insurance every week during the first half of the year.
- Is one of the most effective job creation strategies when joblessness rate is high.
- Every dollar of unemployment compensation spent creates $1.52 in additional economic activity.
- Last week alone the lapse in unemployment insurance cost state economies more than $400 million.
- According to the Congressional Budget Office extending unemployment benefits for another year would save 200,000 jobs.
- Expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation will shrink GDP by .04% points in the first quarter.
- Letting benefits expire won't put people back to work.
- Unemployment rate is 25% higher than when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation passed in June 2008.
- Millions of Americans will exhaust benefits before finding work.