Pascrell Supports House Passage Oo Unemployment Benefits Extension; Says Bill Should Have Been Stronger and Action Should Have Been Taken Sooner
Paterson - Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today voted in favor of a bill to extend unemployment benefits to the nearly 800,000 workers whose benefits expired on December 28, 2002. Pascrell has been a vocal advocate of extending Unemployment Benefits as a means to help families who are struggling to make ends meet while jumpstarting the economy, and criticized House Republicans for failing to pass the extension before the holiday recess. According to the Minority Staff of the House Government Reform Committee, nearly 6,000 workers in the Passaic Metro area receiving unemployment benefits were cut off on December 28th when the Republican-led House failed to act.
"I am pleased that today the Congress passed an extension of unemployment benefits. While we absolutely should have taken this action before the holiday recess, and should have passed today the more comprehensive Democratic package including a full 26-week extension, this is an important first step toward helping families in need and jumpstarting our economy."
"Those working hard to find a job are not mere statistics, and they are not political footballs. They are people who have real kitchen table economic realities to deal with."
The bill passed by the House today provides 13 additional weeks of federally funded benefits to jobless workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. Jobless workers in all states who exhaust their 26 weeks of regular benefits between now and the end of May (five months) would be entitled to the additional 13 weeks of benefits. The extension is retroactive to December 28th. Those who had their benefits cut off on that date would receive the remainder of their 13 weeks.
"Extending unemployment benefits is a critical part of an overall economic stimulus package to get our economy moving again. The President's plan announced yesterday is not an economic stimulus plan. It is a political stimulus plan. Its time he and the Republican Congress get serious and support a targeted, responsible stimulus bill that will actually lift our sagging economy while providing tax relief now directly to those who need it desperately."