December 27, 2013
CASTRO CALLS FOR EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AS FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS
San Antonio, TX – 1.3 million Americans, including over 64,000 Texans, are losing all of their federal unemployment insurance tomorrow, December 28. An additional 106,900 Texans will lose their unemployment insurance in the first 6 months of 2014. Rep. Joaquin Castro is calling on Speaker Boehner to bring up this important piece of legislation for debate as the first order of business in the new year. U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro along with 173 other members of Congress urged Speaker Boehner to not adjourn before extending this crucial program for millions of struggling Americans.
“As the economy recovers, the American people deserve a Congress that puts their needs first. As folks continue to look for jobs and strengthen our economy, we must ensure that they are supported. Yet, 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 the Speaker decided to adjourn before dealing with this important program,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro. “I am calling on Speaker Boehner to make extending this vital program the first order of business when Congress returns in January. This will restore hope for folks who have worked hard, played by the rules, and continue to look for a job.”
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.