In light of renewed efforts in the Senate, U.S. Representatives Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) and Dan Kildee (MI-05) today introduced legislation to extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the long-term unemployed. A companion to the bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Dean Heller (NV) earlier this week, the legislation allows eligible job seekers who were cut-off on December 28, 2013 to continue where they left off in the UI claims process.
"There is a clear need to help those seeking employment get through this very stubborn, unstable economic recovery. Across South Jersey, I've heard from residents desperately looking for work as they struggle to feed their families or pay their bills," said Representative LoBiondo. "Their stories have motivated my countless conversations with House leadership and concerned colleagues hoping to bridge this divide. I see no reason why a bipartisan solution cannot be found that provides a critical lifeline to those in need without adding to the deficit. I applaud Senators Reed and Heller in drafting this new offer and will work with Representative Kildee and other House members to finally pass the extension."
"Through no fault of their own, more than three million out of work Americans, including over 115,000 Michiganders, have lost their unemployment benefits as they actively look for work," Congressman Kildee said. "Since this vital lifeline lapsed, millions of families have struggled to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head and pay their bills. I have been fighting for months to get a vote in the House to extend unemployment insurance This new bill, which is fully paid for, is the latest attempt to find bipartisan compromise to get this done. It is my hope that the House can vote on this important issue immediately to alleviate the suffering of those struggling every day to get by as they look for their next job."
Representatives David Cicilline (RI-01), Jon Runyan (NJ-03), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Peter King (NY-02), Dina Titus (NV-01) and Chris Smith (NJ-04) joined on as original cosponsors of the House bill.
Both the House and Senate bills would strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and Re-Employment Services (RES) programs while ensuring individuals receiving emergency unemployment compensation are eligible for enhanced, personalized assessments and referrals to reemployment services when they begin their 27th week of UI (Tier I) and 55th week of UI (Tier III). The legislation is also fully paid for.
In December 2013, Congress failed to extend emergency unemployment benefits, forcing 1.3 million Americans to lose access to their federal unemployment insurance. The number of Americans without their eligible benefits has subsequently grown to 3.1 million.