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Pocan Releases New Report: 65,000 Wisconsinites to Lose Jobless Aid Without Congressional Action

Dec 10, 2013
Press Release
Pocan continues #MoreWork2Do Week highlighting major priorities Congress should take up before leaving on vacation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today continued highlighting that Congress has #MoreWork2Do before the end of the year by releasing a new report finding that 65,000 Wisconsinites would soon lose vital unemployment insurance without Congressional action. If Congress fails to extend the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program within the next two weeks, in Wisconsin alone:

  • 23,700 unemployed workers will lose unemployment insurance just days after the holiday season on December 28, 2013.
  • An additional 41,800 unemployed workers would lose their insurance in the first six months of 2014.

Today Pocan signed on as a sponsor of The Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefits Act, which would extend the emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed for an additional year.

“Without Congressional action, the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Wisconsin families will be threatened just days after Christmas,” Pocan said. “As our economy continues to recover, we must maintain this vital unemployment insurance for Wisconsin job seekers who would like nothing more than to re-enter the workforce. Congress needs to come together to extend these benefits, focus on job creation, and strengthen middle class families across America.”

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. Long-term unemployment is near historic highs at 37 percent, with the unemployment rate in Wisconsin at 6.7 percent in October and more than 195,000 Wisconsinites still struggling to find work. 

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.

Despite the fact that Congress is set to pass fewer laws this year than at almost any point in history, the House of Representatives is currently scheduled to finish its “work” in Washington by the end of this week. As part of his #MoreWork2Do week, Rep. Pocan is highlighting many important items Congress should finish before it leaves on vacation, including the need to pass a new Farm Bill, vote on comprehensive immigration reform, and focus on legislation to promote job creation and economic growth.