Congresswoman Sewell Joins Democratic Leadership to Urge a Vote to Extend Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell joined her democratic colleagues to announce the discharge petition introduced this afternoon to bring the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (H.R. 3546) to the floor for a vote. Since emergency unemployment insurance was cut off on December 28th, more than 2 million Americans and 20,000 Alabamians have lost these critical benefits.
"The failure of my Republican colleagues to allow a vote on emergency unemployment benefits is a shameful disregard for the needs of more than 2 million people across this country that rely on these benefits. Unemployment insurance lapsed on December 28, 2013 for more than 20,000 Alabamians impacting over 10,000 children in those households," said Rep. Sewell. "Long-term unemployment benefits have kept millions of American families from falling below the poverty line for decades. This is why I was proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues today to take action and introduce a discharge petition to urge a vote to extend these vital benefits."
On March 6, Congresswoman Sewell signed a letter, along with 161 of her democratic colleagues, to Speaker Boehner demanding that he call an immediate vote to extend unemployment insurance. The letter highlighted that there are close to 200,000 Veterans among the 2 million Americans who have seen their emergency unemployment insurance cut off. Speaker Boehner did not honor this request.
Congresswoman Sewell spoke at today's press conference along with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; House Ways and Means ranking member Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich.; Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y.; and Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.
Impact on Alabama
On December 28, unemployment insurance benefits expired for 1.3 million Americans, including 12,000 Alabamians. For each week since, 72,000 Americans and more than 700 Alabamians have lost access to their unemployment benefits.
Impact on Children
In 2012, 2.5 million people were pulled out of poverty by unemployment compensation, of whom 600,000 were children. If Congress fails to act, almost 3.6 million children will be directly affected by the loss of these benefits by the end of 2014.
Background on H.R. 3546- Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2013
H.R. 3546, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2013, is sponsored by Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) to extend emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) payments for eligible individuals to weeks of employment ending on or before January 1, 2015.