Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Urges Immediate Extension of Federal Unemployment Insurance
Washington, DC – (Thursday, December 19, 2013) – With 1.3 million Americans losing all of their federal unemployment insurance on Dec. 28, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today urged an immediate extension of the program. House Republicans in mid-December blocked an effort by Democrats to extend the program before the Dec. 28 cut-off, which leaves 64,294 individuals in Texas without any unemployment insurance even as the rate of Americans who have been out of work for longer than six months remains near historic highs.
“At a time when families should be coming together to celebrate and enjoy the holidays, hundreds of thousands are seeing their entire lifeline cut-off because of the efforts of House Republicans,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “Americans deserve better at a time when our economy continues its recovery from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Speaker Boehner must allow the House to vote so we can extend this vital relief for people who worked hard, played by the rules, and lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
The federal unemployment insurance program – formally called Emergency Unemployment Compensation – took effect in 2008 and has been reauthorized several times since as the economy continues its recovery. Despite the real progress the economy has made since its near collapse in 2008, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession began and long-term unemployment as a percentage of the unemployed is 37 percent, far higher than during previous recessions. On average, nationwide, the program provides about $300 a week to recipients.
Failure to extend federal unemployment insurance would also hurt job growth locally and throughout the nation, costing the economy 240,000 jobs, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas, which includes Downtown Dallas, Fair Park, Kessler Park, Old East Dallas, Pleasant Grove, South Dallas & South Oak Cliff; all of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Hutchins, Lancaster & Wilmer and parts of Ferris, Glenn Heights, South Grand Prairie, Oak Lawn, Ovilla, Uptown/Victory Park and West Dallas.