Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, this past Monday was the first time in months that 1.3 million out-of-work Americans went to their mailboxes and did not find an unemployment check.
People like Kaitlyn Smith from my State of California, a Marine Corps vet and mother of two young children, she said that she had been searching for work for months but has not had success. California is starting to recover, but it still has 400,000 fewer jobs than it did before the downturn. It is especially hard to find jobs in the high desert where she lives; but the family can't move because her husband, a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, must remain near the combat center until he is discharged from the Marines in July.
The loss of her benefits will cut even more deeply into the couple's income. Kaitlyn says the family is already skimping on basics, including heat. She says:
I have to keep the house at 55 degrees, even though I have two little girls, ages 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 .
For Kaitlyn and others like her, we must extend unemployment benefits, and we must extend them now.