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Yarmuth Renews Call to Extend Unemployment Insurance

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the House floor this afternoon, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) renewed his call for a House vote to extend emergency unemployment insurance. Millions of Americans were cut off when Congressional Republicans led an effort to block an extension of the program, which expired December 28.

Every week Congress fails to act, an additional 72,000 Americans – or one person every 8 seconds – lose their emergency unemployment insurance.

The Senate approved bipartisan legislation to extend the program for five months in April, but Speaker John Boehner has refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in the House.

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Full text of Yarmuth’s remarks:

 

Mr. Speaker, it has now been more than four months since Congress let emergency unemployment insurance expire. In that time, more than 2.8 million jobseekers – including 200,000 veterans – have lost the ability to provide for their families.

And another 72,000 Americans are losing critical unemployment benefits every week. Let’s be clear: These are people actively looking for work, who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Both are requirements for receiving unemployment insurance.

But by failing to extend emergency insurance, we are creating a new disaster on top of the hardships already facing millions of American families. And we are damaging our economy.

During just the first week emergency unemployment insurance expired, our economy took a $400 million hit. Failure to extend that insurance could cost us 240,000 jobs this year due to lost buying power – exacerbating the difficulty for current jobseekers and adding more to their ranks.

Mr. Speaker, this is not smart policy. It’s cold-hearted and shortsighted, and I urge my colleagues to join me in demanding a vote to extend emergency unemployment insurance today.