House Passes Bill to Extend Unemployment Benefits

Jan 8, 2003
(Washington, D.C.)–Today the House passed, and Congressman Jim Langevin voted in favor of, legislation that restores federal unemployment benefits to approximately 800,000 Americans and 2,800 Rhode Islanders who lost assistance on December 28th of 2002.  The legislation has already passed the Senate and is expected to be signed by President Bush.

The legislation passed by the Senate yesterday and the House today extends the Temporary Extension of Unemployment Compensation program, which provides 13 additional weeks of federally funded emergency benefits to jobless workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits.  Jobless workers in all states who exhaust their 26 weeks of regular benefits by the end of May would be entitled to the additional 13 weeks of federal emergency benefits. 

The extension is retroactive to December 28th, allowing those who had their benefits cut off on that date to receive the remainder of their 13 weeks.  Those who exhausted both their 26 weeks of regular benefits and 13 weeks of extended emergency benefits prior to December 28, 2002, will not receive any additional benefits.

“I voted for this legislation because we must provide federal assistance to those who are out of work as soon as possible,” said Congressman Langevin.  “Too many Rhode Island families are struggling to pay for groceries, heat homes and pay their bills.  I hope that this additional 13 weeks of benefits will provide them with the resources they need to make ends meet as they continue their search for employment.”

 “Unfortunately, the House Republican Leadership blocked our consideration of a broader Democratic alternative which would have provided 26 weeks of additional benefits to struggling workers and would have included workers who exhausted all benefits last year," added Langevin.  “Our nation needs a comprehensive economic policy that will open the doors of employment to those who are desperately seeking jobs.  Now is not the time to push tax cuts for the top income-earners in the country. We need to spark growth in the job market, not the stock market.”