FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 22, 2010
CONTACT: MARA LEE
Says Long-Overdue Financial Relief Is Critical to Sacramento Families Severely Impacted by the Recession
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) continued her fight to help put Sacramento on the path to economic recovery by voting in favor of the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010, which provides critical financial relief to Sacramento families who have been severely impacted by the recent recession. After an earlier version of this bill was passed by the House, it was delayed in the Senate for political reasons. The final bill – passed by the House today – now goes directly to the President for his signature.
“Today the House of Representatives passed a long-overdue extension of unemployment benefits, which will provide families in Sacramento with the support they need to keep making ends meet. I am relieved this legislation will be sent to the President and enacted immediately, but I am also frustrated that struggling families in Sacramento had to wait this long for such clearly-needed benefits. The refusal of Republicans to work with Democrats to provide American families such critical assistance in difficult economic times underscores the danger of putting politics before policy.”
Rep. Matsui had called upon the Senate to pass unemployment benefits legislation earlier this year, saying that it was “both shameful and embarrassing that Republicans in the Senate have tried time and again to block the passage of an extension of these benefits, which has resulted in several failed attempts to pass this legislation. Never before has Congress allowed extended unemployment benefits to lapse while the unemployment rate was near 10 percent.”
Extending unemployment benefits is not only good for the unemployed; it is also one of the best and fastest ways to stimulate the economy, according to analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). People receiving unemployment benefits spend this money in the local economy, generating commerce and helping to support the jobs that are available and filled. Unemployment benefits were responsible for creating more than one million jobs since the recession started, and for adding almost two percent to the gross domestic product, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In fact, every dollar in unemployment benefits creates $1.61 in economic activity, according to economist and Republican political advisor Mark Zandi.
The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs through November 30, 2010 and retroactively restores benefits to some people who were expelled from the program earlier this year.
“We must all remember that we are living in difficult times and that people are not looking for a hand out – they are looking for a hand up – while they continue to look for employment opportunities,” added Rep. Matsui. “This bill makes good economic sense, which is why I supported it today.”