WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) and a bipartisan majority of his colleagues in Congress approved legislation Thursday that will lend an extra helping hand to workers who’ve lost their jobs in the recent economic downturn. The Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act will immediately give workers who’ve lost their jobs 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits in every state. It was approved by a vote of 274-137.
“Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own need help supporting their families and making ends meet,” Barrow said. “Republicans and Democrats did the right thing and passed a bill that will give hard-working Americans who have lost their jobs the relief they need.”
Americans across the country, and especially in Georgia’s 12th District, are facing rising costs of living and are now experiencing the largest monthly increase in unemployment in 20 years. For the fifth straight month, the economy lost jobs and unemployment rose from 5 percent in April to 5.5 percent 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 would benefit 3.8 million unemployed Americans. It will provide up to 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits in every state. The legislation will be paid for through the federal unemployment trust fund, which have more than enough reserves to cover the cost.
Barrow urged President Bush to sign this bill, and to sign it quickly.
“Folks are hurting, and they need this relief,” Barrow added. “They won’t be saving this money — they’ll be putting it right back into their local economies. The best way to turn this situation around is to help the folks that need it the most.”