Unemployment Insurance Extensionby Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Posted on 2014-01-08
SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I have come to the floor today, like so many of our colleagues, to talk about the urgent need to pass legislation to extend unemployment insurance. I was encouraged, as I know many of us were, that the Senate voted on Monday to move to this legislation. I really hope that we are able to build on that progress and to pass this critical assistance this week.
Emergency unemployment insurance has always had bipartisan support. Congress has acted eight times since 1958, under congressional leadership and Presidents from both parties, to establish extended benefit programs when the unemployment rate is too high. In fact, as I think a number of my colleagues have said, the program we are currently looking to extend was actually passed when George W. Bush was President, with strong bipartisan support.
It is important that we do not turn our backs on Americans who are struggling to find work right now. We cannot afford the economic consequences of inaction. Failing to renew unemployment benefits will cost us jobs, it will hurt economic growth, it will eliminate a critical lifeline for families who are struggling to make ends meet.
While New Hampshire's unemployment rate is below the national average, if you are out of work, your household is 100 percent unemployed. There are too many families in New Hampshire who have already been hurt by the expiration of these benefits. According to New Hampshire's Governor Maggie Hassan and our State's Employment Security Commissioner George Copadis, the lapse in this critical program has abruptly cut off vital support for about 1,350 individuals in New Hampshire. For each week that extended benefits are not available, an additional 500 to 600 New Hampshire citizens will exhaust regular unemployment insurance coverage.
In total, more than 8,500 citizens of New Hampshire could be hurt over the course of the next year. That would result in a potential loss to our economy of as much as $14 million, according to the State of New Hampshire, and it is a particular issue in certain pockets in the State. There are counties where the unemployment rate is higher, where we have more long-term unemployed who are going to find particular concern about trying to find a job if they do not have any help while they are looking.
[[Page S127]] I would ask unanimous consent that the letters from New Hampshire's Governor Hassan and from our Commissioner of Employment Security be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: January 3, 2014.
Hon. Harry Reid, Majority Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Hon. Mitch McConnell, Republican Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Hon. John Boehner, Speaker of the House, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi: I am writing to strongly urge your support for the reinstatement of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, a program that provides a critical lifeline to thousands of New Hampshire residents, and also stimulates the economy and creates jobs as unemployed workers purchase essential goods and services. It is imperative that Congress takes up this important issue as soon as it reconvenes.
The expiration of the EUC program has abruptly cut off vital support for 1.3 million of our fellow Americans, including approximately 1,350 individuals in New Hampshire. For each week that the EUC program is not available, an additional 500 to 600 New Hampshire citizens per month exhaust regular unemployment insurance coverage. More than 8,500 citizens of our state could be hurt over the course of the next year, resulting in a potential loss to our economy of as much as $14 million.
As we continue to recover from the Great Recession, we must support measures that will encourage economic growth. Although New Hampshire continues to experience lower unemployment rates than most states, there remains a critical need for the EUC program as our unemployed workers continue their efforts to secure employment throughout 2014. Failure to reinstate the EUC program will undermine our fragile economic recovery.
Again, I urge you to act quickly and reinstate the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program. We all need to work together to ensure that the economy continues to grow and that we continue to lend a helping hand to unemployed workers in New Hampshire and across the country.
With every good wish, Margaret Wood Hassan, Governor.
____ New Hampshire Employment Security, Concord, NH, January 2, 2014.
Hon. Jeanne Shaheen, Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Jeanne Shaheen: Our understanding is the Senate intends to deliberate on extending Emergency Unemployment Benefits (EUC) when they return from their break. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with information on the number of citizens here in New Hampshire who will be affected by the loss of the EUC Program which expired on December 28, 2013.
The expiration of the EUC Program is projected to immediately effect 1,350 individuals who will lose their benefits at the close of 2013. For each week that EUC is not available, an additional 500 to 600 NH citizens per month exhaust regular UI benefits. The highest impact over the course of one year would be 8,500 citizens of our state. The collective loss of these monies in local communities could be as high as $14 million in 2014. Although New Hampshire is doing much better than most states, there is still a critical need for the EUC Program for new exhaustees throughout 2014.
The Department of Employment Security fully supports the extension of the EUC Program beyond the expiration of December 28, 2013. As you know the EUC Program provides a lifeline for those individuals along with a little more time and a little more hope as they continue to seek employment opportunities in our communities.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any issues or concerns you might have regarding the extension of the Emergency Unemployment Benefits.
I thank you for your time and consideration of my request.
Sincerely yours, George N. Copadis, Commissioner, New Hampshire Employment Security.
Richard J. Lavers, Deputy Commissioner, New Hampshire Employment Security.
Mrs. SHAHEEN. As these letters show, the impact of a failure to extend unemployment benefits is very real for thousands of working families in New Hampshire. Of course, that is true, we know, across the country. Failing to pass this legislation will hurt our economic recovery in New Hampshire. It will hurt the Nation's economic recovery.
The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the expiration of unemployment insurance will cost the economy 310,000 jobs, which is roughly the equivalent of a single month of job growth. We know from economists from the Congressional Budget Office that each dollar we spend on extending unemployment insurance generates about $1.50 in economic growth. It is one of the best places we can spend public dollars to try to stimulate this economy, to create jobs that can ultimately put people who are unemployed back to work.
Although the unemployment rate has gone down and our economy has shown signs of recovery, we still have a lot more to do. We have to get more people back to work. There is so much on the line, for jobs, for hard-working Americans, and for our economy as a whole. We should pass this legislation on behalf of workers and families in New Hampshire and across this country.
I also want to point out that I have filed an amendment to this unemployment insurance bill. I hope we will have a chance to vote on this amendment. It is identical to a bill I have authored that has 19 cosponsors, including the Presiding Officer, the Military Retirement Restoration Act. This legislation would replace the military retiree and benefit cuts that have been included in the recent budget agreement. It would do that by closing a tax loophole that some corporations use to avoid paying their share of taxes. This provision is designed to address corporations that set up shell entities in tax havens to avoid being considered an American company and paying at the tax rate in the United States. They do that even though these companies are controlled and operated on American soil. It would ensure that those companies pay American tax rates. I think most people would agree that this kind of tax avoidance is unfair, that we should close this tax loophole, and we should do that rather than reducing military retiree benefits.
In addition to the 20 cosponsors of the legislation in the Senate, there is a similar bill in the House that has 46 cosponsors. My idea of how to pay for the military retirement benefit is just one idea. I know there are other bills that have been introduced. I am open to those other solutions. But I hope we can work in a bipartisanship way to replace these cuts before they go into effect in 2 years. It is important that we address this issue for the men and women who have served this country so well, who have put their lives on the line for us. I hope we can do that as part of this legislation when we vote on it. If we are not able to do that, I certainly hope we are going to be able to address this in the near future.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.