Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) today conducted a brief roundtable discussion with job-placement counselors, representatives from the Employment Development Department (EDD),and individuals whose unemployment benefits are due to expire. This meeting was held at the third-floor conference of the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC) headquarters in downtown Oakland.
The meeting occurred on the first day EDD counselors are required to meet with the first wave of long-term unemployed clients who are required to have their claims reassessed to remain eligible for assistance. According to the EDD, an estimated 24,000 people throughout Alameda County -- and some 14,000 in the city of Oakland -- will be required to have their unemployment claims reassessed between now and December.
Congresswoman Lee has consistently advocated on behalf of the long-term unemployed, sponsoring H.R 589 -- legislation that would provide an emergency unemployment extension for those who have exhausted their benefits. Congresswoman Lee and representatives of the PIC also discussed the need for Congress to address the nation's employment crisis by making vital investments in direct job-creation and job-training initiatives.
"Far too many Americans have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits and are still unable to find work," said Congresswoman Lee. "Abandoning these job seekers will only further depress the economy and will fail to reduce our deficits as more people will fall into poverty and begin to be eligible for other needs based federal benefits. It is only by providing these millions of struggling American families with adequate and immediate relief and a genuine long term pathway out of poverty that we can put America back on track to prosperity and economic growth for all."