EPI urges immediate action on unemployment benefits extension

by Chris Sturr | June 10, 2008

A press release from the Economic Policy Institute:

This morning, EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey issued the following statement on pending legislation to extend unemployment benefits:

“For months, as the nation’s economy has deteriorated, members of Congress have tried and failed to push through a common-sense extension of unemployment insurance benefits. Now there is another chance. House leaders plan to vote as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday) on a stand-alone extension bill passed April 16 by the House Ways and Means Committee. The extension, which adds 13 weeks of benefits to unemployed workers who have exhausted their benefits, might also remain attached to the emergency supplemental appropriations bill for war funding. Congress should use every possible vehicle to put this issue before the president. For the families of the millions of workers who are exhausting their right to unemployment compensation, the deteriorating job market is a real emergency. There are now only 3.7 million job vacancies but 8.5 million unemployed looking for work. The fault is not with the jobless; the problem is a failing economy and the government’s failure to turn it around.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill now under consideration will provide benefits to 3.8 million people who otherwise are at extreme financial risk. The benefits will also provide a crucial boost to the faltering economy. Now is the time to ensure that Congress takes action. EPI asks that you contact your local representatives in the House and Senate (names and addresses can be located at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov) and urge them to pass this needed legislation.

6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. I agree, the unemployment extension bill should be passed immediately. This would help families like me, that are in a financial hardship due to job loss. I have exhausted my unemployment benefits 3 weeks ago. I am a husbad and father of 3 young children, and it has been extremely difficult. This extension would be of great help and saving millions of families from the verge of bankruptcy. It will help to know that there is some type of income while continuing to look for a job.

  2. The unemployment extension bill has been passed the Senate, according to a reply letter that I received from Dianne Feinstein dated June 6, 2008…it passed on May 22, 2008. So what now? Where are the extensions?I have worked and supported myself all my life. I am not a low-life, illegal immigrant, living off the U.S. benefits system. I was laid off due to downsizing, and I need UI benefits to be able to go to job interviews! It is difficult to even continue doing that, with the price of gas.I cannot believe the audacity of one senator who state on television that he opposes the extensions because “it will discourage people from going out and looking for a job.” How dare him! He needs to be slapped!!

  3. Please something needs to be done NOW. I agree, the unemployment extension bill that was passed as of June 19, 2008 need to distributed immediately. Financial hardship has already happened to many families due to job loss now you want to add more hardship with not giving us the benefits we have worked hard for all our lives. I have exhausted my unemployment benefits this week June 23rd 2008. I am a advanced college educated professional who was laid off due to downsizing like many others who are just trying to survive. This has been extremely difficult since Dec. 2007. This extension must happen NOW before millions of families are bankrupt and lose their homes. We must have some type of income while continuing to look for a job. At this point I do not even have funds to put gas in my car to get to the interviews that I have. I am an Illinois resident and our gas is up to 4.29 a gallon.Help needed in Illinois and all other states

  4. I am a conservative American just like most of the GOP. I am appalled that they would accuse educated professionals like myself of “not wanting to go to work”. I did not spend four years in college and 12 years working my way up the ranks just to be sitting at home. I want to work. No one is hiring. Those that are try to take advantage of the situation and pay far less than average. Add that to the increase in gas prices and I would be working just to pay for child care and gas. We need this extension to keep us going until companies start to hire with more realistic wages. I’ll take a pay cut, but not as much as what they want me to.

  5. Having now looked for both full and part time employment in California for 4 months, I am finding the following:1) For most jobs employers are getting 200 plus resumes. I have had this stated to me in numerous interviews (I end up being one of the finalists not yet chosen to be THE Final Candidate.)2) Companies are relunctant to hire even if they ahve a posted job. For instance one position posted in San Francisco Bay Area was posted in March and as of July they are still taking their time to determine the final candidate pool. In many cases, companies are taking their time even if invited for an interview to determine if they will actually hire to fill the final req.3) The number of jobs available 3 months ago seem to be “higher” in number than they currently are. With recent graduations (and more young people on the market), there is an increase in applicants per job.4) People have not hired internal hires if they think the person’s current salary is above their own hiring budget. They will hire external before hiring internal to fill a position.5) When going to a mandatory unemployment meeting with the state (overview on benefits type meeting) the first words out of the instructor’s mouthh was: The unemployment office due to budget cuts is down sizing by 25% and so if you want help, do it now before they are also unemployed.The people in Congress have no idea about the hiring picture. Its time for them to act.

  6. Who in their right mind would accept a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits as an opportunity to NOT look for work??? It’s not exactly raking in the proverbial dough. NOT having an extension is the ultimate disincentive. Without UI benefits it would be impossible to continue interviewing with the $4-plus per gallon fuel costs here in Massachusetts. Like the majority of people who have posted here, I have 3 college degrees and 20+ years of experience in my field. I have lost count of the number of resumes that I have submitted since December 2007. I seem to make the final round only to lose out to “internal candidates” again and again. (Why do state agencies bother scheduling “outsiders” for interviews?) My work was/is my life! I NEED to work!

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