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Napolitano Votes to Support Unemployment Insurance Extension

July 22, 2010
Press Release

(Washington D.C.)- Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano voted to extend unemployment insurance for people out of work across the country, including thousands within her own district. The House passed the measure 272-152 following yesterday’s Senate vote.

“The economy has been slow to recover, as predicted, and jobs are still scarce,” Napolitano said. “There are nearly five unemployed people for every job opening, so many job seekers are unable to find work no matter how hard they try. In the mean time, unemployment insurance funds allow families to put food on the table. Until our economy picks up and jobs are again plentiful, we have a moral obligation to provide people with the assistance they need.”

The unemployment rate for LA County in June was 12.2%, compared to 9.5% nationwide. The Department of Labor recently announced there are currently 4.7 job-seekers for every open position.

Benefits began to run out June 2, and more than 2.5 million Americans lost their unemployment insurance waiting for the Senate to pass an extension.

In past recessions, unemployment insurance has traditionally been extended with emergency spending by both Republicans and Democrats. The funding stimulates the economy in addition to easing the suffering of the unemployed, because it is spent immediately on groceries and other necessities.

This time many Republicans have said the cost of unemployment benefits can not be added to the national deficit.

“Where were these budget concerns when the Republicans were in charge?” Napolitano said. “They cut taxes on the wealthy when it meant the difference between one vacation home or two. Now they cry ‘deficits’ when unemployment benefits mean the difference between families getting by or going hungry. The unemployed are suffering from a recession they did not cause, and helping them is the morally right thing to do.”

Napolitano and other representatives had already voted in support of several measures to extend unemployment benefits in the U.S. House of Representatives, but each time the bills were held up by Republicans in the Senate.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate and the House, it will go to President Obama to be signed into law. People who have lost benefits over the last seven weeks will be compensated retroactively.