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Unemployment Insurance

Jan 9, 2014
Floor Statement

Congressman Albio Sires

Statement For the Record

Tuesday, January 8, 2014

(Mr./Madam) Speaker, I rise today to express my serious concern about the expiration of the federal unemployment insurance program for more than 1.3 million Americans, including more than 90,000 hard working people in New Jersey.  At a time when so many Americans are still struggling to recover from one of the greatest periods of economic downturn in our nation’s history, it is unconscionable to me that Congress would fail to stand behind those who need our support the most right now.

The emergency federal unemployment insurance program was signed by President George W. Bush and took effect in 2008.  Despite clear economic progress since then, more than four million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer.  These are hard working Americans who are now struggling to pay their bills and feed their families.

Yesterday, our colleagues in the Senate took an important first step toward extending the unemployment insurance program for an additional three months.  I urge our leadership in the House to allow a similar vote so that the federal government can again provide vital relief for people who worked hard, played by the rules, but at no fault of their own have lost their jobs. 

I understand the need to bring our budget under control, but let us not do it on the backs of hardworking Americans. Let us not create even more uncertainty in their lives. Ending this lifeline for America’s working families will not grow the economy and it will not balance our budget.  Mr. Speaker, I call on you to bring an extension up for a vote today.