WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon after the House of Representatives passed a temporary extension of unemployment insurance benefits by a vote of 274 to 137. Forty-nine Republicans joined 225 Democrats in voting for this measure:
“I am very pleased that the House has voted overwhelmingly, and in a bipartisan way, to extend unemployment insurance benefits to millions of hard-working Americans who are struggling to make ends meet in the Bush economy.
“Extending unemployment benefits is not an act of charity. It is an act of compassion for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Furthermore, it is a cost-effective stimulus for our economy, which has been sputtering under the weight of the Bush Administration’s failed and fiscally irresponsible policies.
“In just the last five months, our economy has lost 325,000 jobs, and in May the unemployment rate jumped by the highest percentage – one-half of one percent – in 22 years. Workers are not only at risk of losing their jobs, but also are suffering from decreasing household incomes and exploding gas, food and health care costs.
“This legislation is the right thing to do for our workers and our economy. I urge the Senate to take this bill up as soon as it can, and I hope that Senate Republicans – as they have done on several major pieces of legislation – will not obstruct passage of this bill.”