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Kennedy, Snowe, Rockfeller, Warner, CantwellIntroduce Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


Yesterday, Senators Kennedy, Snowe, Rockefeller, Warner, and Cantwell introduced a bill to encourage states to modernize their unemployment insurance systems. The Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act would make $7 billion in incentive payments available to states to encourage them to expand eligibility for benefits and provide training to workers struggling with long-term unemployment.

"In today's insecure economy, too many working families are just one pink slip away from falling into poverty. While our unemployment insurance program has always been a bedrock of security for working families in troubling times, the system has not kept pace with our changing economy. It leaves many workers - especially low-wage workers - out in the cold, unable to collect benefits." Senator Kennedy said. "Our bill would encourage states to update their unemployment insurance systems to address the new challenges facing workers. It would help long-term unemployed workers get the training they need to find new jobs. And it would give states the resources and flexibility they need to revitalize their programs and better serve working families."

"The Unemployment Insurance Program is vital tool that provides millions of American workers with benefits each year and we must ensure that this system evolves over time to take into account major changes in our economy," said Senator Snowe. "This legislation is a critical investment to help families in Maine and across the country get the help they need in periods of instability. By modernizing the UI Program, we are encouraging states to improve resources and increase flexibility to help American workers stay on their feet and support their families."

"Unemployment insurance is a crucial safety-net for those who have lost their jobs. More than anything it provides valuable peace of mind to families that they can continue to make ends meet, put food on their table and take care for their kids," Senator Rockefeller said. "But the program is more than just financial assistance, it's also about training and education programs. Our legislation will provide states with the resources needed to update their programs so they better reflect the challenges of our modern economy."

Senator Warner said, "In periods of unemployment, workers need a sound program of training and benefits to find new and rewarding opportunities. This bill will provide important resources to states like Virginia, as they improve their programs to help workers and their families in times of need."

Senator Cantwell said, "We have an obligation to provide families with a safety net that meets the demands of today's changing economy. Too many people today are struggling to make their house payments and put food on the table while they worry about where the next paycheck will come from. This legislation gives states the federal resources they need to modernize the nation's unemployment system so we can provide critical support to families during these economic times."

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