Today the Senate passed H.R. 6867, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, which the House passed on October 3rd. The bill provides an additional 7 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits (providing 20 total weeks of extended benefits when combined with the 13 weeks provided earlier this year). The bill now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign into law this week.
Speaker Pelosi on signing the bill:
With more Americans filing jobless claims than at any time since the 1992, the Senate's passage of the House's unemployment insurance extension legislation will help speed relief to more than 2 million workers who continue to search for new jobs in these difficult economic times. No American who is ready, willing and able to work and provide for their family should find themselves cut off from this critical assistance. I look forward to the President signing this legislation into law this week.
While extending unemployment benefits is essential, Congress and the President must continue to work together to help Americans weather this economic storm and strengthen our economy for the long term. We stand ready to work with President Bush and Senate Republicans to enact House-passed legislation that will create new jobs by investing in infrastructure, help states avoid deep cuts to critical services, and provide nutrition assistance to families in need.
Rep. George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee:
In light of today's devastating economic news that new jobless claims rose to their highest level in more than 16 years, the Senate did the right thing for millions of out-of-work Americans. Unemployment benefits for more than a million Americans are set to expire by the end of the year. This extension will provide much-needed help for these families who still have to put food on the table, pay their home and heating bills, and look for a job.
With our nation's financial wounds deepening by the day, we can't allow the rug to get pulled out from under workers looking for a new job. Extending unemployment benefits is a no-brainer — it's one of the most effective things we can do to help workers and stimulate our economy. With the holiday season fast approaching, it's time for the President to give workers and families a helping hand by immediately signing this bill.