News: Press Releases

(WASHINGTON) – Today, the U.S. Senate voted to begin consideration of a three-month extension of unemployment insurance, on a bipartisan vote of 60 to 37. Six Republican Senators joined every Democratic Senator in the procedural vote. The federal unemployment insurance program took effect in 2008 and was signed by President George W. Bush and has since been reauthorized several times as the economy continues to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. There are still more than 4 million Americans who have been out of work for six months or longer. In addition, failure to extend federal unemployment insurance will hurt job growth throughout the nation, costing the economy 240,000 jobs this year, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers. After the vote, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement:

“Today, the Senate took a first step toward reinstating the vital economic lifeline for more than a million Americans that was cut-off during the holidays due to House Republican obstruction – voting to begin debate on a bipartisan extension of unemployment insurance. Passage of this legislation is critical to help Americans pay the bills and feed their families as they look for a job,” said Conyers.

“House Republican leaders must also allow a vote on extending unemployment insurance so Congress can extend this relief for people who worked hard, played by the rules, and lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Already, 1.3 million Americans have lost unemployment insurance, as the emergency job aid expired at the end of December, including 43,311 Michiganders. That number will only continue to grow as 3,327 additional Michiganders will lose jobless aid every week in the first half of 2014.

“It is unconscionable that House Republicans previously blocked consideration of extending unemployment insurance that helps Americans make ends meet as they look for a job. American families deserve better as our economy continues to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It is long past time for Congress to focus on policies that will create jobs to put all hardworking Americans back to work while rebuilding our communities. My legislation, H.R. 1000, the ‘Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act,’ would do just that, and put the United States on track towards becoming a full employment society.”

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