Calling it a helping hand for Nevadans who remain without work, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today introduced new legislation that would provide additional assistance for workers who have exhausted their unemployment insurance and are living in states like Nevada with elevated unemployment rates.
"Nevada remains at the top of the list when it comes to our unemployment rate and families are exhausting their existing benefits with no hope of finding work," said Berkley. "Those who reach the existing maximum, which can be up to 99 weeks, are being left without any means to provide for themselves or their families and they need our help desperately. I see the concern in the eyes of the Nevadans I speak with when I am home, I hear it in the voices of those who call and I read about this need, and the families affected, in the letters and e-mails my office receives on a near daily basis. These are our neighbors, our friends, our former co-workers, who are becoming desperate and they truly need this additional helping hand at a time when Nevada's unemployment rate tops 14 percent."
Berkley's legislation, The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, would create an additional tier of benefits for those who have exhausted their unemployment insurance. The bill would provide 20 weeks of additional unemployment insurance for Nevada and other states with an unemployment rate of 10% or higher. This tier will benefit individuals who have already exhausted all of their benefits, as well as those who are finding themselves near the end of their final tier without the prospect of employment.
"My legislation targets Nevada and others states where unemployment remains above 10 percent and would provide an additional 20 weeks of benefits for those who have reached the 99 week maximum. Providing this assistance will provide a bridge for those living in Las Vegas and other communities where the economy has yet to recover and jobs are as scarce as raindrops in the Nevada desert. These are not spoiled Americans; these are men and women who want to work, and I reject those who would question help for a parent so they can put food in the belly of a hungry child or to keep a worker who lost a job from also losing a home."
The legislation will be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, on which Berkley serves as a member. The bill's cosponsors include Reps. McDermott (WA), Frank (MA), Lewis (GA), Schakowsky (IL) Richardson (CA), Hare (IL), Watson (CA), Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI), Kildee (MI), Doyle (PA), Linda Sanchez (CA), and Filner (CA).