Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the termination today of unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans, a figure that includes 127,000 people in New York State. The program – providing forty-seven additional weeks of unemployment benefits – was established in 2008 under President Bush and has continued under President Obama.
“We extended unemployment benefits in response to an unprecedented crisis in employment, in which millions of people who wanted to work – who are actively trying to find a job – could not find work.
“Today, despite gains in income for the richest Americans and a stock market that has reached the highest level in its history, the crisis of long-term unemployment has continued. There are still many workers who cannot despite their best efforts find a job.
“Yet the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have refused to even allow a vote to extend unemployment benefits for the many families here in Brooklyn and around this nation who depend on these benefits to pay their rent and buy food for their families.
“To deny desperately needed assistance to these workers contradicts both the spirit of the holiday season and the moral commitment we share to our fellow Americans. I urge a vote on this critical matter.”
Economists have estimated that the failure to extend unemployment benefits will reduce the number of jobs created by 300,000 and force several hundred thousand families into poverty. Benefits for another 1.9 million Americans will expire between January and June.
U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.