As Unemployment Continues to Climb, Smith Pushes to Protect Struggling Oregonians
With Oregon's unemployment rate at 6.5 percent and the number Americans out of work now reaching 9.4 million, Senator Gordon Smith joined Senator Jack Reed (D- RI) to introduce legislation to create an important safety net to help those struggling to pay their bills while they look for work. Their bill (S. 3507) would provide a seven-week extension of unemployment benefits for all workers, plus an additional 13 weeks of benefits to unemployed workers in states that have unemployment rates above 6 percent.
"As more Oregonians continue to lose their jobs, we must ensure working families have the support they need to help them get back in the workforce," said Smith. "Many Oregonians actively looking for work exhaust their unemployment benefits each week and they need a lifeline to help them recover from this economic turmoil."
Without this legislation, hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to run out of their current extended benefits in October and 1.1 million are estimated to run out by the end of the year. In 1991 and 2002, Congress worked with the White House to enact similar legislation to extend unemployment benefits when unemployment rates were high
There are 17 current cosponsors of the bill including, Senators Ted Kennedy, Baucus, Stabenow, Boxer, Obama, Schumer, Whitehouse, Brown, Durbin, Levin, Rockefeller, Kerry, Biden, Lautenberg, Feinstein, Dodd, and Harkin.