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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan Releases New Analysis Showing more than 30,000 Wisconsinites Left in the Cold while GOP Blocks Emergency Unemployment Insurance

Jan 24, 2014
Press Release
Wisconsin Ranks 14th in the Nation for Individuals who have Lost Unemployment Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) issued the following statement regarding today’s new report from Ways and Means Committee Democrats showing that by the end of this week, more than 30,000 Wisconsinites will have been cut off from their emergency unemployment insurance due to Congressional inaction—the 14th largest number of such citizens in the nation. Since December 28th, more than 1.6 million Americans have lost their unemployment insurance. Every week Congress fails to act, another 1,600 Wisconsinites will lose this vital lifeline.

“Now more than 30,000 Wisconsinites are fighting to survive due to Congressional inaction—and that number just continues to grow the more we wait to act,” Pocan said. “Enough is enough. It is time for Congress to support these individuals who want nothing more than to return to the workforce. Congress must extend this vital lifeline so that Wisconsinites can support their families and contribute to their local economies.”

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.

Annually, unemployment insurance lifts almost 57,000 Wisconsinites out of poverty, including more than 13,000 children.

Federal unemployment insurance has been reauthorized several times as Americans continue to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Despite the real progress the economy has made since its near collapse in 2008, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession began. The percentage of jobless Wisconsinites who are long-term unemployed is near historic highs at 35 percent.

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.