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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Expiration of Federal Unemployment Benefits to Cost Wisconsin Economy Over $51 Million in January and February Alone

Feb 18, 2014
Press Release
Will cost U.S. Economy over $3 Billion

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) issued the following statement regarding today’s new analysis from Ways and Means Committee Democrats that projects the Wisconsin economy will lose more than $51 million, and cost the U.S. economy $3 billion, in January and February alone due to the Dec. 28 expiration of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation.  More than 1.8 million Americans, including more than 31,000 Wisconsinites, have now been cut off extended unemployment insurance because Republicans continue to block an extension of the program.

“Refusing to extend long-term unemployment benefits not only threatens the livelihoods of thousands of Wisconsinites, but has cost our state economy more than $51 million in the last two months alone,” Pocan said. “There are few programs that more immediately stimulate the economy than unemployment insurance because these benefits are almost always put right back into the economy to pay for basic necessities, such as food or fuel. Republicans will continue to inflict serious damage to our economy if they do not join with Democrats and renew this vital, economic lifeline.”

Pocan, who had pressed Speaker Boehner to address this issue in December, is a sponsor of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, which would extend the emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed for an additional year.

Adding salt to the wound, failure to extend federal unemployment insurance would also hurt job growth throughout the nation, costing the economy 310,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute, while decreasing GDP and increasing government spending for other safety net programs. The White House Council of Economic Advisors estimates that in Wisconsin alone, failing to extend the program will cost more than 5,000 jobs.