NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, has reiterated his call for the House Majority to pass legislation extending emergency unemployment insurance.
Thompson said that approximately $64,858,382 was drained from California’s economy – and $400 million nationwide – during the first week of expired federal benefits.
On Dec. 28, nearly 214,000 people in California lost an average $303 weekly benefit when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired, as Lake County News has reported.
An additional 72,000 Americans – 12,531 of them in California – will lose benefits each week during the first half of 2014, based on Department of Labor data.
In Lake County, 454 people were impacted by the expiration of the benefits, according to the California Employment Development Department.
Thompson's office estimated the loss of benefits for those Lake County residents equates to $137,562 taken out of the county’s economy during the first week of expired emergency unemployment insurance.
Across all of the counties that make up Thompson's Fifth District, the total loss in benefits during that first week totaled $3.5 million, Thompson's office reported.
“When folks get emergency unemployment insurance, they don’t save it. This money is spent on rent, groceries and utilities. It supports jobs and businesses in our community,” said Thompson. “Not only is emergency unemployment insurance an important economic lifeline that helps make sure millions of American families are able to heat their homes and put food on the table as they look for a job, it’s a strong economic stimulant.”
The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program took effect in 2008 when it was signed into law by President George W. Bush, and has been reauthorized several times as our economy continues to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.
Despite the economic progress made since 2008, there are still more than 1 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession began, and more than 4 million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer.
Failure to extend federal emergency unemployment insurance will cost the economy an estimated 240,000 jobs, including 46,000 jobs in California, over the next year – hurting economic growth and making it harder for the unemployed to find work, according to Thompson's office.
“Failing to extend these benefits hurts economic growth, and the only way to solve long-term unemployment is by creating jobs and growing our economy,” Thompson said.
He said the “self-inflicted economic drain” will only get worse as more than 12,000 Californians will lose their benefits each week until Congress acts. “We need to extend these benefits now.”
Thompson is a co-author of H.R. 3546, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2013. H.R. 3546 would extend emergency unemployment insurance for one year and has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.