Washington – Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters spoke on the House Floor urging Congress to stay in session until unemployment insurance is extended. In a letter signed by over 105 Members so far, Peters wrote to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner calling for the House to cancel its district work period until Congress extends federal unemployment insurance:
Peters said, “The failure of Congress to find common ground to extend unemployment insurance is shameful – when so many are desperately trying to make ends meet while struggling to find work. The economic recovery has not come fast enough for thousands of middle class Michigan families and those aspiring to get there, and the last thing folks need is political score-keeping in Washington making things worse.
Peters continued, “I believe that the House of Representatives can find common ground to do the right thing and extend unemployment insurance, but there is no chance if everyone goes on recess. The clock is ticking. We need to cancel this recess now and get to work.”
The full letter can be seen below:
Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor,
On December 28, 1.3 million Americans immediately lost all of their unemployment insurance when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired. While this number grows higher with every week of Congressional inaction, the House of Representatives is scheduled to recess for district work period today for 10 days. This is unacceptable. Another 100,000 Americans will lose their benefits during this break while the families who lost their benefits right after Christmas will continue struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes, and pay their bills weeks after they lost this lifeline.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is an investment with a proven economic return, and it is the right thing to do for American families. Every dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.55 or more in economic activity. These benefits have also keep hundreds of thousands of American children out of poverty.
In the almost three weeks since the December 28 deadline, over 200,000 more Americans have exhausted their state benefits and are now unable to receive assistance under the expired federal program. The number grows higher every day. Approximately 72,000 Americans will lose their unemployment benefits every week – the equivalent of one person every 8 seconds.
There are legitimate policy discussions to be had about exactly how we should extend federal unemployment insurance, but we cannot find common ground when the House of Representatives is not in session and when this legislation is not even being considered in the House. The clock is ticking. This is why we urge you to cancel the pending district work period and keep the House of Representatives in session until both the House and Senate have sent legislation to the President to extend emergency federal unemployment benefits. Thank you for your consideration and we stand ready to work with you on this critical issue.