Rep. Johnson votes to extend unemployment benefits

July 22, 2010
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) voted to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans, including thousands of Georgians and Fourth District residents.

The measure passed the House on July 22, and now goes to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

But Republicans in the Senate blocked the bill for more than seven weeks while 2.5 million of Americans lost their benefits.

Last week, Johnson called on Georgia’s senators to pass the measure, which would extend unemployment benefits for Georgians, provide $1 billion for 350,000 youth employment jobs program and $2.5 billion in emergency assistance for needy families working in public and private sector jobs.

While the unemployment rate in the nation, state and Fourth District remains unacceptably high, Rep. Johnson said everything must be done to help residents bridge the gap.

“I speak with constituents all the time who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Johnson. “These benefits are crucial to help unemployed workers pay their mortgages and put food on the table.”

“Helping unemployed workers is not just the right thing to do for people, but it helps spur the economy. Republicans are eager to give the wealthiest Americans a tax break to the tune of $700 billion and not pay for the cuts, but they are unwilling to afford the same benefit for working Americans.”

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, 7,000 Georgians were losing their benefits each week that the Senate failed to act.

The state gives 26 weeks of unemployment insurance, and with the three extensions Congress has passed during the course of this recession, people can receive benefits for up to 99 weeks.

The bill extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs through November 30, 2010 and retroactively restores benefits to some people who already lost their unemployment benefits.

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