11.30.11

Lee Demands Relief for Long-Term Unemployed

Contact: Kristal DeKleer (202) 225-1882

Washington, D.C.– Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement at a press conference with unemployed workers, labor activists, Labor Secretary Solis, and members of the House and Senate to call for a renewal of federal unemployment insurance programs, scheduled to expire at the end of the year: 

“Thank you to Ranking Member Levin, Congressman Doggett, Whip Hoyer,  Assistant Leader Clyburn, Senator Harkin, Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, and all the other leaders that are working so hard for the millions of Americans struggling to find a job during this holiday season.  I would also like to thank Secretary Solis for her leadership and commitment to getting America’s work force back to work.

“As this jobless recovery continues, more and more Americans are long-term unemployed and now the jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America’s unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits. 

"2 million Americans have exhausted a full 99 weeks of unemployment and still cannot find a job.

“It is critical that we extend the expiring emergency unemployment insurance benefits before the end of the year, but that extension will not help the millions of Americans who have run out of time, the so-called 99ers.  H.R. 589 is my bill to extend unemployment compensation for an additional fourteen weeks for the 99ers – and this bill must be included in an unemployment extension package going forward. 

“The AP reports that “Early last year, 75 percent (of the unemployed) were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America's 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

“Providing support for America’s long-term unemployed will not only boost our stalled economy, but it will keep millions of families out of poverty which is the morally right thing to do. We need to reignite the American Dream and work to provide ladders of opportunity for all.  We need UI extension and we need it now. Not just for the millions about to run out, but for the millions who ran out a long time ago.” 

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