Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District called for a vote in the House of Representatives to extend unemployment insurance through the end of the year for millions of out-of-work Americans. House Democrats have introduced a discharge petition that would require an up or down vote on legislation extending unemployment insurance once a majority of the House, 218 members, sign on to the petition. Luján signed the petition this afternoon.
"Calls to extend unemployment insurance have fallen on deaf ears in the House of Representatives while two million Americans struggle to get by," Congressman Luján said. "Republicans have failed to address this issue. There has not been one single vote to extend unemployment insurance while time and again House Republicans have scheduled votes to undermine the Affordable Care Act. With too many families still struggling to get by, it's long past time Congress acted and passed an emergency extension of unemployment benefits."
Luján has been a strong voice on this issue, calling on House Republicans stop ignoring this important issue. Last week, he joined 160 other Democrats on a letter to Speaker Boehner highlighting the fact that approximately 200,000 veterans are among the 2 million Americans who have lost unemployment insurance. Currently, more than 9,700 New Mexicans have lost these benefits that help families make ends meet during difficult economic times while they actively look for work.
House Republicans have blocked multiple efforts by Democrats to bring up legislation to extend the program on the House floor. Last month, a measure to extend the program came one vote short of the 60 votes necessary to move legislation forward in the Senate.