Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis has issued the following statement on congressional action today on the extension of Unemployment Insurance benefits and the payroll tax cut:
"I am pleased that congressional leaders have extended both unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed, and the payroll tax cut that is critical to so many working families.
"The payroll tax extension will put $1,000 back into the pockets of average working Americans over the next year. The unemployment insurance extension will continue to provide a lifeline to the 40 percent of unemployed Americans who have been out of work for long periods of time and who may no longer qualify for state unemployment insurance. The extension will also prevent 4.4 million individuals from exhausting their benefits, and will help another 8.1 million living in households with the long-term unemployed, including 3.1 million children.
"The extension also introduces innovative measures that were included in the American Jobs Act, which provide flexibility in the use of unemployment benefits to help the unemployed get back to work. Today's bill includes additional funds for re-employment services and funds to avert future layoffs. Moreover, the extension provides flexibility for the unemployed to get training, short-term employment or set up their own businesses.
"Today's action by the Congress is a win -- not only for people, but also for our economy as a whole."