Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined a bipartisan coalition of his colleagues in voting 59-38 for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance that may help up to an estimated 14,000 New Mexicans pay for basic needs while they look for work. Emergency unemployment insurance expired on Dec. 28. The Senate bill includes a five month retroactive extension, and will provide benefits for the long-term unemployed through May 31. Udall issued the following statement after the vote:
"Thousands of New Mexico families have struggled to find work in a tough economy, and for the last four months since emergency unemployment assistance expired, too many have also strained to pay for basic needs.
"Unemployment insurance provides a vital lifeline to families with children, veterans and other job-seekers, so they can put food on the table, pay the rent and fill up their gas tank to travel to a job interview. And it helps keep the economy going in communities, like many in New Mexico, where small businesses suffer when families are out of work.
"I'm very pleased that the Senate was able to step beyond partisan obstruction and take this step to extend emergency unemployment assistance. Now it's time for the House to do its part to help up to 14,000 New Mexicans and millions of unemployed workers across the country get back on their feet."