Representatives Barbara Lee and Bobby Scott Call on House Republican Leadership to Allow Vote on Emergency Relief to Help Long-Term Unemployed

For Immediate Release




Joel Payne, Lee, (202) 225- 2661

Larry Dillard, Scott, (202) 225-8351


Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) joined Gregg Rosen of the American 99ers Union and Dr. Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) at a press conference earlier today to introduce The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act, legislation to extend emergency benefits to long-term unemployed workers.  The bill would provide 14 weeks of emergency unemployment benefits to people who have exhausted all their benefits and are still unemployed. Many of these long-term unemployed workers have exhausted their benefits and need this assistance to support their families, make ends meet and contribute to our economy. The speakers called on the Republican leadership to allow for a vote on this critical legislation to provide emergency relief to millions of working class people.

"Millions of workers across the nation, many of whom live in my district, are experiencing a true state of emergency. Our bill would ensure these long-term unemployed workers get the long overdue assistance they need to support their families, make ends meet and contribute to our economy," said Representative Barbara Lee. "The Republican leadership has given a lot of lip service to creating jobs for our working class, but they have yet to even produce a plan.  Now they have a chance to support emergency relief to millions of working class people who can contribute to our economy as they fight to support their families. I call on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor to bring this to a vote on the House floor as soon as possible"

"The Great Recession has been devastating for so many American families," said Representative Bobby Scott said. "Not only will this legislation help these hardworking Americans make ends meet, it will stimulate the economy. According to the Center for American Progress’s recent report on the impact of the recession, economists estimate that the U.S. economy grows by $1.61 for every dollar the government spends on unemployment compensation because unemployed persons usually spend all of their benefit payments quickly. Put simply, unemployment compensation is one of the most efficient and effective ways to stimulate the economy."

"I represent 19 groups and tens of thousands of individuals from every corner of this great nation who have come together with a common goal: extending unemployment insurance for all Americans. I applaud Representatives Lee and Scott and others for introducing this bill that will assist in curing the disease that is unemployment, The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act," said Gregg Rosen of the American 99ers Union. "Passing this bill will save American lives, assist in rebuilding the American Economy, and get Americans back to work. This vital piece of legislation needs to be enacted into law without delay."

"With December’s tax deal, we just committed to spending nearly $140 billion over the next few years on tax cuts for the richest 2%. These tax cuts are unfortunately one of the least cost-effective forms of stimulus available, since wealthy people are much less likely to spend that money in the near term," said Dr. Heidi Shierholz of EPI. "We remain in a severe jobs crisis and extending unemployment insurance is a lifeline to the most deserving - to the families who have actually been the most hurt by this downturn. And it is one of the most efficient things lawmakers can do to generate jobs."