Cong. Eliot Engel says to renew unemployment insurance

Congressman Eliot Engel said today the failure of the proposed budget agreement to include an extension of unemployment insurance could cause more than a quarter of a million long-term unemployed New Yorkers to lose their benefits by the end of this year or in the first half of 2014.  The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expires in less than three weeks. Now the only hope for its continuance is for Congress to pass new legislation to extend the bill.

Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “As of December 28th 127,100 New Yorkers will lose their unemployment benefits  and another 132,800 will lose their benefits in the first half of 2014 if this law is not renewed.

“The country has not recovered from the Great Recession of 2008. Since then federal unemployment insurance has been reauthorized several times to help unemployed workers get through these hard times.  But in New York the unemployment rate is still an unacceptable 7.6% and nationwide there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession.

“Now is not the time to abandon our workers and their families. Congress has to extend this program until as a country we are fully recovered economically.”

He said the failure to extend federal unemployment insurance would also hurt job growth, costing the economy 240,000 jobs nationwide, including almost 20,000 in New York, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “Losing even more jobs is not the answer for a recovering economy. Helping families through extended unemployment benefits is the way.”