Recognizing that 9.7 percent of Americans remain jobless as a result of an unregulated economy during the past decade, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today voted in favor of extending unemployment insurance benefits as part of the nation's continued economic recovery. The Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act (H.R. 5618) passed in the House today with a vote of 269-153.
"Millions of Americans woke up this morning unable to pay their rent, electric bill or groceries. We must directly help the American people who continue to be the victims of irresponsible policies that led the nation into the last recession," said Pascrell, a House Ways and Means Committee member speaking in the U.S. House of Representatives today. "For years, there were policies that held the extraordinary wealthy, the big banks, above seniors and above the middle class. I stand with the American people who are fighting for their economic survival. I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same."
The legislation would extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits programs through November 30, 2010. This would retroactively restore benefits to people who may have started losing their benefits as early as the end of May -- some after just 26 weeks. The bill does not extend the $25 a week increase in UI benefits. The Senate is expected to begin debate on H.R. 5618 in mid July.
A bill to renew unemployment benefits for six months did not pass in the U.S. Senate on June 30. This will have an immediate effect in New Jersey with unemployment benefits expiring for 35,200 people by July 3. Nearly two million American families are without the economic lifeline they need to pay bills while they continue searching for work.
The current lapse in extended benefits is unprecedented. Since 1959, the government has never allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire when the national unemployment rate has been above 7.2 percent. The current employment rate is 9.7 percent.
A video of Rep. Pascrell's floor speech can be seen at the following link: