WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the Department of Labor reported that 554,000 Americans have filed new applications for unemployment benefits:
“Today’s news that 554,000 Americans filed unemployment claims is another sign that our economy, along with American families everywhere, continues to struggle. With this recession now entering its second year, we must focus on what steps we can take to begin recovery. The most important step we can take is the immediate passage of an economic recovery package that creates jobs and boosts our economy over the long term. This package must renew our infrastructure, stimulate our economy by extending unemployment insurance, invest in new energy technologies, and help cash-strapped states protect vital services like education and health care from damaging cuts. Congressional Democrats urge President Bush to drop his opposition to the recovery package; but if he does not, Congress will ensure that President-elect Obama can sign it soon after taking the oath of office.
“We also call on President Bush to follow through on his pledge to use federal funds to protect the solvency of the American automakers. It is essential that the Big Three restructure in order to compete in a 21st century economy—but we also must remember that millions of American jobs are hanging in the balance. We hope that President Bush uses his legal authority to prevent even more workers from being added to the unemployment rolls this winter.”