Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today visited One-Stop Career Centers in Moline, Galesburg, and Sterling to call for an extension of unemployment benefits. The House has passed an extension three times, most recently on Thursday. But because of inaction by the Senate, 98,000 unemployed Illinoisans have lost their benefits since May 30.
"It is truly outrageous that the Senate has adjourned for the July 4th recess without passing an extension of unemployment insurance," Hare said. "For too long, millions of Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own have been forced to live with constant uncertainty as a result of partisan bickering in Washington."
Hare took issue with Republican Senators who have implied people on unemployment insurance are lazy. Specifically, he mentioned Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a member of the Republican leadership, who recently said: "Continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work." "I couldn't disagree more with Senator Kyl and frankly find his comments offensive to the millions of Americans who are looking for work every day and need these benefits to keep their families afloat," Hare said. "The people calling my office asking for this extension want a paycheck, not an unemployment check."
If the Senate takes no action on an extension, over 2.1 million people nationwide will be without benefits by July 10 and 2.5 million will lack insurance by July 17. Every dollar in unemployment benefits creates at least $1.63 in economic activity, and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found extending these benefits to be one of the most cost-effective and fast-acting ways to stimulate the economy.
"There is clearly both an economic and moral case for extending unemployment benefits," Hare said. "American workers did not cause this recession and they should not be forced to suffer any more than they already have."
Hare said in light of the meager June jobs report, Congress must continue to focus on putting people back to work. He has advocated several pieces of legislation to invest in our communities through direct hiring initiatives, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and put construction workers back on the job, and restore our manufacturing base.