House Republican Leadership Running Out of Excuses to Obstruct Renewal of Jobless Aid

The following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on the Republican House Leadership’s objection to the bipartisan bill to reauthorize federal jobless aid:

“Once again, the Leadership of the House of Representatives has found a reason to try to stop a bi-partisan, fully-paid-for deal in the Senate to restore Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to over two million long-term unemployed workers. This is nothing but a callow excuse to try to justify, yet again, abandoning the nation’s long-term unemployed.

“All discussions of restoring the EUC program have always contemplated retroactive restoration of benefits. While no one thought this would be an easy or seamless process for the state unemployment insurance agencies, the agencies retroactively restored benefits after a significant lapse in 2010, so we know that they can do it. And the U.S. Department of Labor stands ready to work with states to ease the administrative burdens as much as possible and to provide guidance on how to best comply with the law.

“While the challenges of getting these programs back up and running are real, they are the direct result of Congress letting EUC lapse for so long and of some of the compromises that had to be made in order to secure a bi-partisan agreement. These challenges are not a reason to refuse to consider this bill on the House floor. We applaud Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, for maintaining his principled position on the importance of this legislation with this statement yesterday:

‘It is extremely disappointing that, no matter what solution is reached, there is some excuse to deny these much-needed benefits. I look forward to passing this proposal out of the Senate next week, and stand ready to help the Speaker, as well as any organization or any individual necessary, in order to make this extension a reality.’

“Providing emergency jobless aid for the long-term unemployed in this country is the right thing to do for them and the right thing to do for our economy. We are confident that state agencies, with assistance from DOL, will find the best ways possible to implement this bill when it is signed into law, consistent with their missions to serve the unemployed in their states.”

Emma Stieglitz
(646) 200-5307

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