WASHINGTON – Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) today criticized Republican efforts to extend unemployment benefits as “seriously flawed because it ignores the one million workers who have already exhausted their extended benefits and because it will limit benefits to only 13 weeks of additional coverage.”
Earlier this month, the Congressman joined with Rep. Charles Rangel, (NY) in introducing legislation that would extend unemployment benefits to the one million workers who have exhausted their benefits, increase the length of the benefits to 26 weeks, and expand unemployment insurance coverage for low-wage and part-time workers.
While the Republican legislation helps those who are about to exhaust their regular state-provided benefits, it does nothing to help the more than one million long-term unemployed who have already exhausted their benefits.
Rep. Cardin, who is the leading Democrat on the Human Resources Subcommittee, stressed that the money is available to help those who have been affected by the economic downturn. “Currently there is $21 billion in the Federal Unemployment Trust Funds, more than enough to help these workers. Not to use these funds now is just plain wrong.”
The Congressman also stressed that most economists believe that one of the most effective ways to stimulate the economy is to put money into the hands of those who are likely to spend it. “By providing significant relief for those who are unemployed, we can help American families at the same time we stimulate the economy.”