Cardin Sponsors Legislation to Extend Unemployment Benefits
Their bill would continue the extended benefits program for an additional six months, increase the amount of benefits to 26 weeks, include coverage for roughly one million workers who have already exhausted their extended benefits, and expand unemployment insurance coverage for low-wage and part-time workers. The current program is scheduled to prohibit new enrollees starting Dec. 28 (when Congress will be out of session).
Rangel, who is the leading Democrat on the Committee on Ways and Means, highlighted the need for the bill by saying, "We have seen a steady pattern of job losses over the last two years. The least we can do is extend basic assistance to those Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own."
Rep. Cardin, who is the leading Democrat on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources (which oversees the unemployment insurance program), declared, "We have $20 billion in the Federal Unemployment Trust Funds to help laid-off workers. We should use some of that money to help struggling families. Every day we wait, we risk not getting this done before Congress leaves town."
Noting that unemployment data for the month of September is due out on Friday, Rep. Cardin continued by saying, "The important thing to keep in mind is the record level of job loss in our economy over the last two-and-a-half years. During that time, we have lost 3.3 million private-sector jobs, with about 200,000 of those jobs lost in the last four months alone. The unemployment rate is higher today (6.1%) than it was in January (5.7%).
"The unemployed are looking for work, but they simply can't find employment," he concluded. "In fact, according to data from the Department of Labor, there are more than three unemployed workers looking for every available job."
Source: Press office of Congressman Cardin.
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This story was published on October 2, 2003.
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