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Yvette C.
Democrat NY 9

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  • Congressional Black Caucus Addresses Unemployment Benefits

    by Representative Yvette D. Clarke

    Posted on 2014-01-13

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    CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Las Vegas (Mr. Horsford) for his leadership and guidance during this CBC Special Order.

    Today I rise to support the extension of emergency unemployment benefits. Since 2008, both parties have come together to provide extra weeks of unemployment benefits for our fellow Americans. These Americans are our neighbors, our relatives, our friends, and constituents who are unemployed through no fault of their own. They have consistently tried to find employment, having pounded the pavement each and every day but, unfortunately, to no avail. They deserve our help.

    Unemployment benefits help Americans pay for their most basic survival needs: food, housing, and medical care. If unemployment benefits are not extended, approximately 5 million Americans are expected to lose emergency unemployment benefits over the next 12 months; and of that number, 383,000 are New Yorkers.

    Failing to extend the emergency benefits will reduce economic growth by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014 and cost our economy 310,000 jobs next year. Is this really another problem that we want to have our Nation face? It is important to realize that unemployment not only negatively affects individuals and their families but also our economy, in particular, small business owners. The mom-and-pop shops that are the pillars in our communities suffer more when their customers cannot patronize their businesses.

    Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, has found that every $1 spent on unemployment insurance grows the economy by $1.55.

    {time} 1930 These dollars circulating through the economy create jobs. Despite statements to the contrary made by some of my Republican colleagues, no one wants to be unemployed. Americans want to work. It is part of the American ethos. It is also part of the American ethos to help our fellow citizens out when they are down. We all must remember that, but for the grace of God, go I.

    I close by asking Speaker Boehner to bring an emergency unemployment benefit extension bill to the floor, and, in doing so, help not only our economy but, most importantly, millions of deserving and unemployed Americans.

    Mr. HORSFORD. I would like to thank the gentlelady from New York. Thank you for your hard work and for bringing your perspective to the need for extending the unemployment insurance benefits to the 1.3 million Americans who, as of this week, have now lost receiving that benefit. This is the week that they would have otherwise received that unemployment insurance benefit in the mail. So this is real for some 1.3 million Americans who are struggling this week to meet their obligations to keep the lights on, to put food on the table and to pay the rent. This is the week. Each week that Congress fails to act, 72,000 Americans--additional Americans--lose their unemployment insurance benefits. One person every 8 seconds, Mr. Speaker, loses their uninsurance benefits when Congress fails to act.

    That is why the Congressional Black Caucus is here this evening, to bring attention to this urgency of now. Every week, 72,000 Americans are struggling--additional Americans--on top of the 1.3 million who already, as of December 28, have lost their unemployment insurance.

    So this is real, and the impacts are real.

    I would like to go to the vice chairman now of the Congressional Black Caucus, the gentleman from North Carolina, who provides tremendous leadership to our caucus and to the issues important to the American people, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Butterfield).

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