Congresswoman Chellie Pingree today voted to extend critical unemployment benefits, saying the checks stimulate local economic activity. The bill passed the House but the Senate has adjourned without passing a similar measure, meaning benefits will run out for some people at the end of this week.
"Letting these unemployment benefits run out now is pulling the rug out from under Maine families who need help now and pulling the rug out from under an economy that is still very weak," Pingree said. "Without this extension, 6,500 people in Maine will lose benefits this week, and that means they will stop spending money on groceries and gas and other necessities in their local communities."
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that for every $1 of unemployment benefits paid in a community, $1.90 of economic activity is generated. Historically, unemployment benefits have been routinely extended during recessions when the unemployment rate is above 7 percent.
A total of 1.7 million people nationwide are expected to lose their unemployment benefits at the end of this week without an extension.
The House has passed an extension through November of unemployment benefits twice this year. One extension of benefits was passed in late May as part of a package of other domestic measures, but was blocked twice in the Senate. Today the House passed a standalone extension, but the Senate voted against an extension yesterday and adjourned without further action.