Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps voted to help jump start the local economy and aid over one million jobless Americans -- including thousands in California -- by extending unemployment insurance benefits to those hit hardest by the recession. The Unemployment Compensation Act of 2009 (H.R. 3548 ) will provide immediate assistance, extending relief to the estimated 68,713 workers in California who would otherwise exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of September, and 154,328 more whose benefits would run out by the end of the year.
"This is just one of several steps Congress and President Obama have put in place to provide immediate relief to struggling families and get our economy back on track," said Capps. "This money will help many Americans struggling to find work in this difficult economy make ends meet. This is especially important for Californians who are struggling with record unemployment numbers and a recession that has been particularly severe and prolonged. This will also stimulate the economy as the families who receive these benefits will put this money right back into our local economy -- buying groceries, filling their cars with gas, and making their mortgage payments on time."
The extension will provide immediate, effective stimulus to the local economy. The Congressional Budget Office has cited unemployment benefits as one of the most cost-effective forms of economic stimulus, and every dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in new demand, according to Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi. The extension is fully paid for, and strengthens reporting requirements to reduce unemployment insurance overpayments.
The legislation will help families in at least twenty-seven states, including California, with the highest unemployment rates, where it is most difficult for workers to find employment. Workers in these states who have exhausted or will soon exhaust their benefits will be eligible for an additional thirteen weeks of insurance.
A copy of Congresswoman Capps' statement follows:
Statement of Rep. Lois Capps
Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (H.R. 3548)
September 22, 2009
Madame Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3548, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.
This critical legislation would extend unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks in states with high unemployment, such as my home state of California, where the unemployment rate has reached a record 12.2 percent.
In California alone, this bill will provide additional benefits for over 150,000 jobless workers who would otherwise exhaust their unemployment benefits before the end of this year.
These new benefits will help the millions of Californians who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own feed their families, heat their homes and pay their mortgages.
Extending these benefits is also one of the most cost-effective and fast-acting ways to stimulate the economy because the money is spent quickly. According to Moody's Economy.com, every $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in new economic demand.
There is no question that this legislation is needed. Yes, our economy is beginning to recover. But millions are still out of work and struggling to stay afloat.
I support this bill because it will provide real money for real workers who need it in California and across the nation.
I urge my colleagues to join me in voting yes on H.R. 3548.