WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) called on President Bush and the Republican Congressional leadership to immediately extend temporary federal unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans in response to a report released today by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The CBPP report showed that by the end of February an estimated 760,000 Americans will exhaust their state unemployment benefits and will be denied additional federal assistance. The following is Congressman Hoyer’s statement:
“Despite the President’s rosy promises of job creation, the reality is that the economy is not producing enough jobs to put unemployed Americans back to work. Recently the President and his two top economic advisors, Treasury Secretary Snow and Commerce Secretary Evans, refused to endorse the President’s own economic report that predicted the robust job growth for this year that is necessary to put jobless Americans back to work.
“Meanwhile, the President offers no real job-creation plan and is silent on extending the program.
“The study released today demonstrates the striking lack of compassion in the White House and in the Republican Party. Over fierce Democratic opposition, Republican leaders decided to let the federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation Program (TEUC) expire on December 21 last year, even though over 8 million Americans are unemployed and it is taking longer than ever for unemployed workers to find new jobs – almost 2 million Americans have been jobless for 26 weeks or more, the highest level of long-term unemployment since 1984.
“On February 4th, a bipartisan House majority supported a six-month extension of unemployment benefits in recognition of this stark reality. Yet Republican leaders continue to block it and the President says nothing. It’s glaringly apparent that the Republican leadership and President Bush are out of touch with the plight of the millions of jobless Americans.
“The hard truth is that the job market is weak, and until there is a dramatic improvement in job creation, I call on President Bush and Congressional Republicans to stand with Democrats and aid those in need by extending the temporary federal unemployment program.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report may be read on their website.