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Congresswoman Kuster Calls For A Vote On Unemployment Insurance

With time running out, Congresswoman Kuster presses for a vote on bill to extend Unemployment Insurance for Granite Staters

In letter to Speaker Boehner, Kuster urges action on legislation to renew the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which would give Granite Staters struggling to find work a vital lifeline

Without Congressional action, 1.3 million Americans – including 1,300 Granite Staters – will be cut off from vital unemployment insurance benefits just days after Christmas

Kuster to Boehner: With less than 10 legislative days remaining before benefits expire, the time to act is now

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With critical unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed set to expire just days after Christmas, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today called on Speaker Boehner to allow a vote on legislation to renew the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for another year. In a letter to Speaker Boehner, Kuster said that an extension of unemployment insurance benefits will provide a vital lifeline to Granite Staters and other Americans who are still struggling to find work as the economy continues to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Kuster, who also reiterated her call for Congress to focus like a laser on job creation, underscored that with only ten legislative days remaining before benefits are set to expire, the time for action is now.

“While our economy has made important progress since the Great Recession, too many people in New Hampshire and across the country are still struggling to find work. Now is not the time to cut off unemployment insurance benefits that are helping these families survive as they search for jobs,” Kuster wrote. “I therefore respectfully request that you allow a simple vote on legislation that will protect these benefits and the hardworking families who count on them.”

Last month, Kuster cosponsored legislation that would extend unemployment insurance benefits for another year and highlighted a report which estimated that without Congressional action, 1.3 million Americans – including 1,300 Granite Staters – would be cut off from their benefits on December 28.

Last year, unemployment compensation helped keep 2.5 million Americans out of poverty, including 600,000 children. Not only would losing these benefits hurt New Hampshire families, it would also have a negative impact on economic growth. Recent estimates have found that allowing the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program to expire would cost our economy 310,000 jobs and reduce first-quarter economic growth by roughly four-tenths of a percentage point in 2014.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was first authorized in 2008 and has been reauthorized on several occasions since then, most recently as part of the Jan. 1, 2013 fiscal cliff agreement, with the number of weeks of federal benefits substantially reduced over the last two years.

Key findings from the report Kuster highlighted last month include:

  • 1,300 Granite Staters will lose unemployment insurance on December 28, 2013
  • Failure to extend unemployment insurance would cost economy 310,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute
  • 37% of unemployed have been without a job for longer than six months
  • Economy still has 2 million fewer jobs than before Great Recession began

A member of the House Small Business Committee, Kuster has prioritized efforts to foster job creation, grow the economy, and expand opportunity for middle class families. Last month, she hosted a Career and Opportunities Fair,  toured a West Lebanon brewery to discuss legislation that would cut taxes on New Hampshire’s small brewers, visited a Salem company to highlight the importance of boosting small business exports, and hosted a 21st century workforce roundtable in Hudson with students, business owners, and education leaders.

She has also introduced legislation to extend and expand a federal pilot program to help boost small businesses exports, supported legislation to make permanent the federal research and development tax credit, helped lead the fight to prevent pending regulations from harming New England farmers, and worked to protect New Hampshire small businesses from burdensome online sales tax collection requirements.

The full text of the letter is below:

December 3, 2013

Dear Speaker Boehner:

With fewer than ten legislative days remaining before unemployment insurance benefits are set to expire, I write to urge you to immediately allow a vote on legislation that will extend these vital benefits for individuals who are still struggling to find work.  As you know, without Congressional action, 1.3 million jobless Americans – including more than 1,300 individuals in my home state of New Hampshire – will lose their unemployment insurance benefits just days after Christmas. 

Not only would losing these benefits be a painful blow to my constituents who are still struggling to find work, but it would also hurt our economy. Some recent projections have found that allowing the Emergency Unemployment Insurance program to expire would cost our economy more than 300,000 jobs while shaving four-tenths of a percentage point from first quarter economic growth in 2014.  That would hurt the long-term unemployed in my district and negatively impact our entire economy.

While our economy has made important progress since the Great Recession, too many people in New Hampshire and across the country are still struggling to find work.  Now is not the time to cut off unemployment insurance benefits that are helping these families survive as they search for jobs.  I therefore respectfully request that you allow a simple vote on legislation that will protect these benefits and the hardworking families who count on them.  With fewer than ten days to act, Congress needs to immediately extend these vital benefits and focus like a laser on creating jobs and opportunity for the middle class. 

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.

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About NH Labor

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.
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