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Rep. Clarke Votes for Legislation to Extend Unemployment Benefits


“Hard-working Americans have lost their jobs and need help supporting their families and making ends meet,” said Rep. Clarke. “Today, Republicans and Democrats did the right thing and passed a bill that will give Americans who have lost their jobs some of the relief they need.”


Americans across the country are facing rising costs of living—and we have just seen the largest monthly increase in unemployment in 20 years. For the fifth straight month, the economy lost jobs and unemployment rose from 5.0% in April to 5.5% in May.  The economy has lost nearly 325,000 jobs this year and 8.5 million Americans are unemployed.


The legislation approved in the House today would benefit 3.8 million unemployed Americans — providing up to 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits in every state to workers exhausting the 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. In states with higher levels of unemployment (six percent or higher), an additional 13 weeks would be available, for a total of 26 weeks of extended benefits. The legislation will be paid for through the federal unemployment trust funds, which have more than enough reserves to cover the cost, will finance these benefits.


While extending unemployment benefits is one of the most cost-effective and fast-acting ways to stimulate the economy, the Bush Administration opposed the legislation considered in the House today.


“The White House should not stand between unemployed workers and the relief they need,” added Rep. Clarke. “After presiding over an economic collapse, President Bush and his Republican allies should work with us to turn the economy around.”

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