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MA Truth Team: Brown’s Big Oil, Wall Street Record Is Wrong for New Hampshire

Those Who Know Brown Best Highlight How Brown Failed Small Businesses, Women, Students, and Working Families 

10614242_10153178479977785_6783427704573705127_nManchester, NH—A dozen concerned men and women from Massachusetts, which included an elected state representative, union members, a women’s health advocate, a retired educator, and small business owners—traveled to Manchester today to launch the “Massachusetts Truth Team,” highlighting why Scott Brown was wrong for Massachusetts and is not for New Hampshire. The group specifically highlighted Brown’s opposition to equal pay protections for women, the minimum wage, and support for small businesses, along with his support for Big Oil, Wall Street, and tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs as reason why New Hampshire can’t afford to support him this November.

“These men and women are highlighting how Scott Brown’s record was wrong for Massachusetts and is not for New Hampshire,” said Former NHDP Chair Kathy Sullivan. “Instead of voting in the interest of working families, he voted to protect special breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Instead of protecting small businesses, he voted repeatedly to protect tax breaks for the big oil companies, making record profits. Instead of protecting women’s health choices, he supported the Blunt Amendment and defended the Hobby Lobby decision.”

“During a time when Massachusetts workers needed good-paying jobs, Scott Brown voted to protect special breaks for companies that send American jobs overseas, tax breaks for Big Oil, and scored a sweetheart deal for Wall Street banks when he watered down regulations and got them off the hook for $19 billion to help pay for reforms,” said small business owner Barbara Weniger. “As a small business owner, that was all I needed to see to know that he wasn’t looking out for me – he was looking out for the out-of-state special interest groups that were lining his campaign coffers. Wherever Scott Brown goes, we know who has his ear—and that’s Wall Street.”

“Scott Brown was our Senator in Massachusetts when many families were having a tough time just paying the bills,” said Linda Harvey, who operates her own law firm and often represents working families. “He spent his entire campaign riding around in his truck, telling families like mine that he was one of us. But once he got there, we found out who Scott Brown really stood for: Wall Street and Big Oil. As someone who’s seen Scott Brown campaign before, I say this: don’t buy what he’s selling.”

“When Scott Brown was in Massachusetts, he always delivered for Big Oil and Wall Street, but he left Massachusetts students in the dust, voting to cut programs like Pell Grants and Head Start that put our kids on a path to success,” said retired teacher Lois Jacobs. “Nothing does more to promote opportunity in this country than access to an affordable, quality education. But Scott Brown voted time and time again to make cuts to education while supporting special breaks for Big Oil and Wall Street.”

“Once Scott Brown became a Senator, it became clear who he was,” said Secretary Treasurer of New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Mark Erlich. “In 2010, he voted three times against extending unemployment benefits during the greatest recession since the Great Depression. He voted twice against job creation legislation, even recently saying that he does not believe that a Senator should create jobs. Meanwhile, he voted to protect $24 billion in tax subsidies for Big Oil companies, and he watered down regulations for big banks, saving them $19 billion. New Hampshire is a great state, and my view is that New Hampshire deserves better.”

“When Scott Brown was Senator in Massachusetts, women learned the hard way that he’s not someone we can trust, especially when it comes to pay equity and women’s health,” said Megan Amundson, Executive Director of Massachusetts NARAL. “He’s always talked a big game about being bipartisan and protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, he let us down when it counted every time. Scott Brown lost his seat in Massachusetts because he does not stand with women, so women did not stand with him. Make no mistake—nothing has changed. He will represent New Hampshire women just as poorly as he represented Massachusetts women.”

“Since Scott Brown moved to New Hampshire, he has been rejecting research and statistics that show that an increase in the minimum wage results in faster job growth, and he has ignored the fact that more than 110,000 Granite Staters, of which 60% are women, would get a much-needed raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 an hour,” said State Representative Tom Conroy. “Scott Brown has spent months struggling to explain why he opposes raising the minimum wage, which is exactly why Brown has the wrong priorities for New Hampshire. He’s turning his back on hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters, all while he collects a $270,000 paycheck from a company that outsourced American jobs. Brown even endorsing that business strategy. I urge Granite Staters to reject Brown on November 4th.”

Over the next seven weeks, the Massachusetts Truth Team will show how Scott Brown was wrong for Massachusetts and is not for New Hampshire as he attempts to distort the facts about his positions and rewrite history as a Senate candidate in New Hampshire.

On The Senate Floor Shaheen Calls For Extension Of Unemployment Insurance (VIDEO)

Vote on extending unemployment insurance scheduled for this afternoon

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on her colleagues to support an extension of unemployment insurance in a speech on the Senate floor this morning. In her remarks Shaheen highlighted the consequences that the failure to extend unemployment insurance has already had on the economy and Granite State families; to date New Hampshire has lost an estimated $1.8 million worth of economic output as a result of lost emergency benefits.

Senator Shaheen’s remarks as prepared for delivery are included below:

Mr. President, I came to the floor because later today the Senate will vote on a short-term extension of emergency unemployment benefits for the thousands of New Hampshire citizens, over a million throughout the country, who are being hurt right now by the failure of Congress to act.

I have heard from a number of New Hampshire constituents since unemployment insurance expired back in December. They make the case much for eloquently than I can about why we need to extend these unemployment benefits. I want to read some excerpts from some of those letters.

One of my constituents, a 62-year-old woman from Windham, New Hampshire, explained that despite her best efforts, she will be one of the many long term-unemployed without any unemployment benefits if she doesn’t find a job by March.

She began working at age eight delivering papers with her brother, put herself through college, and earned a master’s degree with the help of her employer.  She wrote “I’m not too proud to do any honest job.  I’m losing my house and can’t afford to pay my mortgage any longer.  There are so many of us out there.”

A woman from Windham, New Hampshire wrote to me.  She is 55 years old, and has held a job since she was 16. Last August, she was laid off in a merger, and has been actively seeking a job in her health care field.  She explained that her unemployment check has helped her pay for her essential living expenses.  She and her sister take care of their 90 year-old parents in their home, and this income is critical to their care.

A 58 year-old woman from Merrimack wrote that she lost her job in May 2013, and has had nine interviews, but no offers.  Without unemployment assistance, she will not be able to afford her car payment, her mortgage, or food and utilities.

A constituent wrote to me explaining that after 29 years as a teacher, her job was eliminated.  She has been on unemployment since June, and has applied to nearly 100 jobs. Think about getting up every day trying to figure out where to apply just to have a shot at getting back to work.  Her savings are exhausted and she is on the verge of losing her house since her unemployment benefits – her only source of income- have expired.

She wrote: “This seems unfair to me having worked hard and been a taxpayer into the system all of my working life. I fail to see how not extending benefits will be beneficial to me and the 1.3 million other Americans…especially in light of an already fragile economy.  Please do your best to remember those of us who never planned to have to depend on unemployment for this long but who have fallen victims to these times.”

I did a telephone town hall and heard from thousands of people across New Hampshire. One of the people I heard from was a woman named Kathy from Danbury. She told me that she had worked since she was 14, and she’s now out of a job. Her unemployment benefits have expired, and she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.

You know, we need to think about Kathy and all of the people who we’re hearing from in our offices. We’re supposed to represent the people who need help across this country. My constituents are exactly right – we are threatening the fragile economic recovery by failing to extend unemployment insurance.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the expiration of unemployment insurance will cost the economy 310,000 jobs.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that each dollar we spend on extending unemployment insurance generates about $1.50 in economic growth.

And we learned this week that failing to act has already drained more than $2.2 billion from the economy, including $1.8 million from New Hampshire.  Not to mention, all of the people whose personal stories are tragic because they want to work. They’re out of a job through no fault of their own, and we need to provide them with some assistance while they try and get back on their feet so they don’t lose their home, so they don’t lose their car, so they can put food on the table.

I urge my colleagues to come together today. It is time for us to act to support an extension of unemployment insurance.  I certainly hope we are going to do that.

I yield the floor.

Senators Ayotte (NH) and Collins (ME) Voted Against Unemployment Insurance Extension (Granite State Rumblings)

Last week the Senate failed to pass an extension of unemployment insurance. Nearly 1.3 million workers lost their unemployment insurance when the emergency program to help them expired on December 28th.

More than one-third of the unemployed have been out of work for more than 6 months. For each week that nothing is done, another 72,000 long-term jobless will lose their Unemployment Insurance, another 3.6 million by the end of 2014.

A total of 8,500 unemployed Granite Staters and 18,100 unemployed Mainers will lose their benefits by the end of 2014 according to information from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Two different bills came up for a vote in the Senate last week. Neither bill received the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster and move forward.

One would have extended unemployment benefits for 11 months and paid for it by extending the existing 2 percent cuts to Medicare health providers by an additional year, to 2024. It failed 52 – 48.

The other bill would have extended unemployment benefits for three months at a cost of 6.4 billion dollars. It failed 55 – 45.

(January 7, 2014 - Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

(January 7, 2014 – Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Senator Susan Collins of Maine were among the Republican Senate members who voted against extending unemployment insurance. However, they did vote the very first time to allow the issue to be debated in the Senate and subsequent votes taken. We have a chance to convince them to do the right thing again.

Senators are in their home states this week and waiting to hear from their constituents. They have not been home since the checks stopped arriving for the first wave of the long-term unemployed.

Those missing checks are having a huge impact on the families who relied upon them for their basic needs. They are also having an impact on our local communities. The money from those checks is not being spent at the grocery stores in our towns and cities, not being spent on gas and propane and heating oil, not being spent on rent or mortgages.

When the Senators return to Washington they need to return having heard the voices loudly and clearly from their constituents about this issue and then vote to undue the harm that has been inflicted on the children, the families, and the communities of the long-term unemployed.

Every Child Matters and other statewide groups are asking you to call Senator Ayotte and Senator Collins tomorrow and tell them to do the right thing. Go back to work and protect those workers who want nothing more than to be able to do the same.

The number for Senator’s Ayotte’s Manchester office is: 603-622-7979

The number for Senator Susan Collins’ Portland office is: 207-780-3575.

Rep Shea-Porter Votes For Omnibus Budget Bill Ending Threat Of Shutdown

Shea-Porter Supports Bipartisan Appropriations Bill to Invest in New Hampshire and Avert a Government Shutdown

Compromise spending bill would restore COLA funding for disabled veterans and alleviate some of sequestration’s reckless cuts to NH’s economy

Legislation includes key funding for PNSY, NH National Guard, Granite State Veterans, Seacoast Fishermen, LIHEAP, Head Start, Meals on Wheels, and First Responders

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3547, an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through Fiscal Year 2014. The legislation earned the support of Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) because it prevents another government shutdown and invests in New Hampshire’s economy and programs vital to the middle class.

“I think it’s shameful that this omnibus bill did not include emergency unemployment insurance and only partially restores the COLA adjustment for military retirees, but I voted for this bill because it’s a bipartisan compromise that invests in New Hampshire’s economy, keeps our post offices open, and reverses some of sequestration’s damaging cuts to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the New Hampshire National Guard, Head Start, Meals on Wheels, LIHEAP, and other vital programs,” Shea-Porter said.

“This legislation ensures that Congress won’t repeat another costly government shutdown, but it is far from perfect. It only repeals the 1% reduction in the annual military pension cost-of-living adjustment for disabled military retirees and their survivors because my amendment to fully repeal the cuts was not accepted by the Republican-controlled Rules Committee. However, this bill is a modest step down the long road towards growing our economy and governing responsibly,” Shea-Porter said.

H.R.3547 adheres to the compromise funding levels agreed to in Bipartisan Budget Act, legislation which passed in December. As mandated by the bipartisan budget agreement, it includes a total of $1.012 trillion in regular defense and non-defense discretionary funding.

This bill makes significant strategic investments in New Hampshire, and includes a number of measures championed by Shea-Porter. Highlights follow.

AVERTS A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

·         The compromise $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill would fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2014, thus keeping the government open. The legislation passed the House of Representatives 359-67 earlier today, and the Senate is expected to vote on the bill tonight. President Obama urged swift passage of the legislation, which needs to be signed by January 18, 2014 in order to prevent another government shutdown.

PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD

·         The bill provides $11.5 million for new military construction at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The legislation also includes a strong mark in favor of submarine programs – fully funding the second 2014 Virginia class submarine, preserving funding for the Virginia Payload Module, and continuing development of the Ohio Replacement.  Congresswoman Shea-Porter and other members of the House New England delegation advocated for full funding of these submarine programs.

NEW HAMPSHIRE NATIONAL GUARD

·         KC-46A Tanker:  The legislation appropriates $1.6 billion to fully fund continued development of the KC-46A air refueling tanker. Shea-Porter has strongly supported bringing the KC-46A to Pease. In the 110th Congress, she secured almost $9 million in funding to build a new facility for the WING Headquarters Operations and Training facility at the base. In the 111th Congress, she also secured $10 million to help the 157th Operations Group, which is responsible for the air refueling mission, consolidate its components into a single building, thus improving its command communications and overall efficiency of operations. In March, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter toured the Pease Air National Guard base to meet with Air Force and Air Guard leaders and show her continued support for Pease and the 157th Air Refueling Wing as the Air Force evaluated final candidates to receive the KC-46A tanker. Prior to that, Congresswoman Shea-Porter joined New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation in sending a letter to the Air Force Chief of Staff expressing support for the selection of Pease.

·         National Guard equipment procurement: The bill exceeds full funding for National Guard and Reserves equipment.

DEFENSE, VETERANS, AND WOUNDED WARRIORS

·         Veterans Backlog: The bill appropriates $320 million to deal with the claims backlog at the Veterans Administration. Shea-Porter has worked consistently to reduce the Veterans Administration’s (VA) disability claims backlog. In October, she voted in favor of bipartisan reforms to help reduce the backlog.

·         Veterans Homelessness: The bill fully funds the President’s request for $10,000 new veterans’ housing vouchers at $75 million.

·         PTSD Therapy: The bill contains Shea-Porter’s bipartisan amendment to provide $4 million in funding for an innovative dog-training therapy program that is a safe, effective, non-drug intervention to treat the symptoms of PTSD and TBI in returning service members. Shea-Porter championed the program along with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ). The amendment was fully paid for.

·         Retired Military COLA: The omnibus appropriations legislation repeals the 1% reduction in the annual military pension cost-of-living adjustment for disabled military retirees and their survivors.  Yesterday, Shea-Porter offered an amendment to fully repeal reductions in the military retiree cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that were included in the Bipartisan Budget Act.

·         TRICARE: The legislation includes $218 million increase for the TRICARE health insurance program for military personnel, military retirees and their dependents, to protect beneficiaries against increases in out-of-pocket costs. Shea-Porter included  language in the National Defense Authorization Act would help military families receive access to alternative physical therapies under the TRICARE program.

·         Wounded Warriors: The legislation includes $585.6 million for prosthetic research, which is $3.5 million above the 2013 enacted level.

·         Military Pay Raise: The agreement would fund a requested 1 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces and the DOD civilian workforce.

·         Defense and Small Business: Exceeds full funding by $175 million for the Defense Rapid Innovation Program to incorporate small business developments into Department of Defense programs.

DISASTER RELIEF AND FIRST RESPONDERS

·         Federal Emergency Management Agency: The bill allocates $6.2 billion for disaster relief – fully funding FEMA’s stated requirement. The bill also provides a total of $2.5 billion for first responder grants, $39 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level, including:

o   $1.5 billion for state and local grants,

o   $680 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants, and

o   $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.

o   Additionally, the bill includes a House amendment that delays certain premium increases in the National Flood Insurance Program.

EDUCATION

·         TRIO: 95 percent of the sequestration cuts to TRIO were restored. Congresswoman Shea-Porter has been a leading advocate of investments in effective programs such as TRIO. In June, she led a group of 21 Representatives in sending a letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that Federal TRIO Programs be protected from further cuts under sequestration in Fiscal Year 2014.

·         K-12 Funding: The $625 million increase in Title I funds over post-sequester funding levels will help support an additional 1 million students, and the $498 million increase over post-sequester funding for IDEA grants will cover the costs of an additional 6,000 special education staff.

·         Head Start: The bill restores the Head Start sequestration cuts and gives grantees a 1.3 percent cost-of-living increase.  Allows the Education Department and HHS to jointly administer a new $250 million competitive grant program for states to develop or expand high-quality preschool programs for low-income families.  In addition, the bill provides a $36 million boost to the Child Care Block Grant program for a total of $2.36 billion.

·         Pell Grants: The maximum annual award, which still must be confirmed by the Education Department and is based on inflation, is likely to rise by $85 to $5,730.

INFRASTRUCTURE

·         New Hampshire Rail: The bill restores funding for the Amtrak Downeaster passenger rail line that runs through New Hampshire’s Seacoast. Under previous appropriations bills, funding would have expired. By sending two letters to the Department of Transportation, Shea-Porter and the New England delegation worked toward restoration of the $6 million a year in Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funding that supports this critical regional infrastructure.

·         Highways: The bill includes a $557 million increase to Highway funding above the FY 2013 amount.

LIHEAP

·         The legislation includes $3.425 billion in funding for LIHEAP, a $169 million increase over FY 2013 levels. As Granite Staters face another cold winter, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has repeatedly called on Congress to increase funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). In April, she sent a bipartisan letter requesting that funding for LIHEAP be authorized at a level of $5.1 billion in FY2014.

MEALS ON WHEELS

·         The omnibus bill contains a $41 million increase for Meals on Wheels, a nutrition program for seniors. Shea-Porter has visited Meals on Wheels in New Hampshire and has spoken out about the fact that under sequestration, Meals on Wheels programs were forced to cut, on average, 364 meals per week and have increased their waiting lists on average by 58 seniors.

NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHERMEN

·         Disaster Relief: $75 million will be allocated toward fishery disaster, thanks to this legislation. Shea-Porter has been a vocal supporter of this program. In early 2013, Shea-Porter wrote to Speaker of the House John Boehner and cosponsored an amendment to reinstate disaster aid.

PRIVACY

·         National Security Agency (NSA): Today’s Appropriations bill would require the National Security Agency to provide Congress the number of phone records collected and reviewed during the last five years, including an estimate of the number belonging to U.S. citizens. The agency would also have to provide an unclassified report describing all spy programs that collect bulk data, including the cost of the programs and what type of records are being collected or what kind of data the agency plans to collect in the future. Shea-Porter has been an outspoken critic of the dragnet collection of data by government agencies. She has called for increased transparency, oversight, and accountability over domestic surveillance.

US POSTAL SERVICE

·         Saturday Mail: The legislation forbids ending Saturday mail or closing rural post offices. Shea-Porter is a cosponsor of H.Res 30, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the Postal Service should maintain six-day delivery. She believes the US Postal Service is a vital resource for communities in New Hampshire and that eliminating Saturday mail delivery would hurt consumers and fail to adequately address the issues facing the United States Postal Service.

The bill shamefully does not include an extension of emergency unemployment compensation, an issue that Shea-Porter has repeatedly raised with Speaker Boehner and her colleagues. Today, Congresswoman Shea-Porter requested unanimous consent to end Republican’s refusal to allow a vote on extending emergency unemployment compensation.

“It is deeply disappointing that Republicans in Washington continue to block a vote to renew emergency unemployment compensation and help job-seekers in New Hampshire,” Shea-Porter said. “This is not the end of the line. I’ll continue to fight for a jobs bill and an extension of emergency unemployment insurance for those looking for work.”

Rep Annie Kuster Calls For Unemployment Extension Immediately

Kuster: More than 1000 Granite Staters Lost unemployment insurance benefits at the end of 2013 – House must pass bipartisan extension immediately

During a speech on the House floor, Kuster highlights the story of a Colebrook constituent who lost her teaching position after 29 years on the job and relies on emergency UI benefits to make ends meet while she looks for work

In total, more than 1,000 Granite Staters lost UI benefits at the end of 2013; without Congressional action, an additional 150 Granite Staters will lose their benefits every week during the first half of 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) this week continued to urge her colleagues to support legislation extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits that expired at the end of 2013. During a speech on the House floor, Kuster highlighted the story of a constituent from Colebrook who lost her teaching position last fall after 29 years on the job, and who depends on unemployment insurance benefits to get by as she applies for jobs. More than 1.3 million Americans – including more than 1,000 Granite Staters – have already been cut off from their emergency unemployment insurance benefits, and more will lose their benefits every week that Congress fails to act.

“[The EUC program] compensation provides a critical lifeline to Granite Staters and other Americans who are still struggling to find work. This includes Lois, a teacher who wrote to me from Colebrook, New Hampshire,” Kuster said. “At the end of the last school year, Lois lost her job after teaching for 29 years because of falling enrollment in her rural school district. Over the last few months, she has applied to over 100 jobs without any luck.”

“Her savings have been exhausted, unemployment benefits are now her only source of income, and she is worried about whether she can keep her home,” Kuster continued. “We must give people like Lois – hardworking Americans who have suffered a tough break – the opportunity to get back on their feet.”

For months, Kuster has been outspoken about the need to extend unemployment insurance benefits for Granite Staters still struggling to find work. She first called on Congress to pass legislation to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation in November, and personally called on Speaker Boehner to bring that legislation to a vote before Congress adjourned at the end of last year. Kuster is also a cosponsor of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, legislation to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed through 2014.

Senator Kelly Ayotte Twists The Facts About Immigrants & Taxes With Unemployment Insurance Amendment

This week, as the Senate decides whether to extend unemployment benefits, some Senators are looking for “offsets.”  Unfortunately, a fallback for some members of Congress has become targeting programs for immigrants, without regard to the true fiscal or social impact.

Senator Kelly Ayotte Official Portrait

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

One recurring target has been the Addtional Child Tax Credit for immigrant taxpayers. An amendment proposed by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) prososes to “pay for a three-month extension of unemployment benefits by stopping a scheme that currently allow {sic} illegal immigrants to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.”

Calling a program which allows immigrant workers to pay taxes and legally claim tax credits a “scheme” distorts reality. Immigrant workers—both undocumented and lawfully present immigrants—like all workers, are required to pay taxes and many do so using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The IRS has determined that ITIN filers are indeed eligible to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit for their qualified children. Those who are undocumented pay into a system that makes them ineligible for the vast majority of benefits their tax dollars fund.

Weeding out fraud is important and while there have been some reports of fraud in the program, just as there is in other tax programs, the “fraud” doesn’t occur when an ITIN holder claims the credit. Ending the entire program punishes those who are seeking to follow the law.

ITIN filers are doing the right thing by paying into the tax system with little hope of collecting any future benefits for themselves. According to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, in 2010, ITIN filers reported $60 billion dollars in wages. There may be debate as to whether this is fair or reasonable policy, but it is not a scheme, nor is it fraud. The debate about ITIN filers and the Additional Child Tax Credit should be fueled by honest reporting and reliable facts.

Via press release from the Immigration Policy Center

AFL-CIO President Trumka’s Statement On Senate Colture Vote on Unemployment Insurance

Richard_TrumkaLast year, lawmakers appallingly deserted 1.3 million jobless workers and went home for their own holiday without extending unemployment insurance benefits. Today, the Senate took an important step to assist those still searching for work when it cleared the way for a temporary unemployment benefits bill.

Unemployment insurance serves as a lifeline for millions of jobless Americans and their families. For many job seekers, unemployment benefits are the difference between total hopelessness and a place to live and food on the table.

The urgent business before us now is fixing what’s wrong with our economy. Maintaining the unemployment benefits program won’t just keep families out of crisis. It helps to spur the economy and keep it growing.

The Senate should quickly act to pass this bill and the House must act immediately. Further failure will mean more than 3 million more qualified people who will be denied extended benefits. Millions of Americans counting on unemployment insurance to help them through tough times are counting on the House to do the right thing.  We cannot afford to leave any working families behind.

Governor Hassan Calls on Congress to Renew Emergency Unemployment Insurance

Governor Hassan Calls on Congress to Renew Emergency Unemployment Insurance

1,350 Unemployed Granite State Workers Have Lost Emergency Benefits

CONCORD – To support New Hampshire’s unemployed workers and help protect the state’s economic recovery, Governor Maggie Hassan today sent a letter to Congressional Leadership calling on the United States House and Senate to quickly renew Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits, which expired for 1,350 Granite State workers at the end of 2013.

“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,” Governor Hassan said. “It is imperative that Congress takes up this important issue as soon as possible.

For each month that the EUC program is not available, an additional 500 to 600 New Hampshire citizens will exhaust regular unemployment insurance coverage, potentially impacting more than 8,500 New Hampshire citizens over the course of 2014 and resulting in a potential loss to the 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,” Governor Hassan said. “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.”

The full text of the Governor’s letter to Congressional Leadership can be found below:

January 6, 2014

The Honorable Harry Reid                                     The Honorable John Boehner                               
Majority Leader                                                      Speaker of the House                                            
United States Senate                                              United State House of Representatives                 
Washington, DC 20510                                          Washington, DC 20510
 
The Honorable Mitch McConnell                          The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Republican Leader                                                 Democratic Leader
United States Senate                                             United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510                                         Washington, DC 20510
                                                

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 possible.

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 month that the EUC program is not available, an additional 500 to 600 New Hampshire citizens will 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

 

cc:        The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen, US Senator

The Honorable Kelly Ayotte, US Senator

The Honorable Carol Shea-Porter, US Representative

The Honorable Ann McLane Kuster, US Representative

 

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.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Calls For Immediate Extension Of Unemployment Insurance

 With Clock Ticking, Congress Must Extend Unemployment Insurance for Granite State Families, Focus on Job Creation

Unveils new report showing that without Congressional action, 1.3 million Americans – including 1,300 Granite Staters – will be cut off from vital unemployment insurance just days after Christmas

Kuster: We must provide critical assistance to long-term unemployed and focus like a laser on helping create jobs

 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 Congress to immediately extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and take aggressive steps to help boost job creation in New Hampshire and across the country. Kuster highlighted a new House Ways and Means Committee report which estimates that without Congressional action, 1.3 million Americans – including 1,300 Granite Staters – will immediately be cut off from unemployment insurance on December 28 if Congress does not reauthorize the program.

“If Congress fails to act soon, more than one thousand Granite Staters will lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the year,” Kuster said. “Losing these vital benefits will be a body-blow to New Hampshire families who are already struggling to find work and make ends meet. After wasting weeks on a pointless government shutdown that hurt our economy, Congress needs to come together to extend these benefits and focus on helping create jobs and opportunity for Granite Staters.”

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 points from the report 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.

In November, Kuster is hosting a Career and Opportunities Fair in Nashua that will bring together local employers and job seekers.

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