Huffman, House Democrats: Congress Must Not Adjourn for Year without Extending Federal Unemployment Insurance

December 11, 2013

WASHINGTON­—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and 165 House Democrats urged Speaker Boehner not to adjourn the House for the year without extending federal unemployment insurance, which is scheduled to expire Dec. 28.  If Congress doesn’t act, 1.3 million Americans would immediately lose all jobless aid, including 214,800 unemployed California workers. An additional 1.9 million Americans would lose their jobless aid in the first half of 2014, including 325,800 unemployed Californians.

“Unemployment benefits are a life raft keeping job seekers—our neighbors and their families—afloat while they look for work,” Congressman Huffman said. “With an uneven economic recovery that is still not creating enough jobs, it is unconscionable that Congress would adjourn for the holiday season without acting to support the Americans desperately in need of our help.”

A copy of the letter may be found below:

December 11, 2013

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
H232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner:

We write to urge you to address the looming expiration of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans before adjourning Congress for the remainder of the year.  Without swift Congressional action, 1.3 million jobless workers will have their benefits cut off on December 28th, and nearly another 1.9 million will lose their unemployment benefits over the first half of next year.   This would not only be a devastating blow for millions of Americans who are already struggling, but it would also hurt our economy.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program is scheduled to immediately and completely stop at the end of 2013, during the holiday season, with the last payable week ending on December 28th.  All current EUC beneficiaries will lose their benefits, and individuals exhausting their limited state unemployment benefits will no longer be eligible for EUC benefits in 2014.  This cutoff will affect over 3 million Americans over the next six months, and thereby also negatively impact our economic growth. In fact, recent estimates indicate that the expiration of the EUC program would cost our economy 310,000 jobs and drain roughly four-tenths of a percentage point from first-quarter economic growth.

While unemployment benefits remain a critical lifeline for dislocated workers and their families, these benefits have recently been significantly scaled back.  According to the Congressional Research Service, the total amount of weeks of unemployment benefits has dropped by more than a third across the states, and by more than 50 percent in some states, compared to two years ago.   Furthermore, the recipients have seen their weekly benefit payment provided by the EUC program cut under sequestration.

Even with the progress our economy has seen since the depths of the recession, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs today than when the recession started six years ago. Additionally, approximately 4 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed, and have been looking for work for more than six months. Now is certainly not the time to further decimate vital federal assistance to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own and who must actively seek work in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits.   We therefore strongly urge you to immediately bring up a one-year extension of the current EUC program.

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.


Jared Huffman

Sander Levin

Barbara Lee

Lloyd Doggett

Steny H. Hoyer

James Clyburn

Xavier Becerra

Joe Crowley

Steve Israel

Robert Andrews

Karen Bass

Joyce Beatty

Ami Bera

Sanford Bishop, Jr.

Tim Bishop

Earl Blumenauer

Suzanne Bonamici

Robert A. Brady

Bruce Braley

Corrine Brown

Julia Brownley

Cheri Bustos

G.K. Butterfield

Lois Capps

Michael Capuano

Tony Cardenas

Matt Cartwright

Joaquin Castro

Kathy Castor

Donna M. Christensen

Judy Chu

David Cicilline

Yvette Clarke

Wm. Lacy Clay

Emanuel Cleaver

Steve Cohen

John Conyers, Jr.

Gerald E. Connolly

Jim Cooper

Jim Costa

Joe Courtney

Elijah E. Cummings

Danny K. Davis

Peter DeFazio

Diana DeGette

John Delaney

Rosa L. DeLauro

Suzan DelBene

Ted Deutch

John D. Dingell

Donna F. Edwards

Keith Ellison

Eliot L. Engel

William Enyart

Anna Eshoo

Elizabeth H. Esty

Sam Farr

Chaka Fattah

Bill Foster

Lois Frankel

Marcia L. Fudge

John Garamendi

Alan Grayson

Al Green

Gene Green

Raul Grijalva

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Luis V. Gutierrez

Janice Hahn

Colleen Hanabusa

Alcee L. Hastings

Denny Heck

Brian Higgins

James A. Himes

Ruben Hinojosa

Rush Holt

Michael Honda

Steven Horsford

Hakeem S. Jeffries

Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.

Marcy Kaptur

William Keating

Joseph P. Kennedy, III

Daniel Kildee

Derek Kilmer

Ron Kind

Ann Kirkpatrick

Ann McLane Kuster

James R. Langevin

John B. Larson

Sheila Jackson Lee

John Lewis

Daniel Lipinski

Dave Loebsack

Alan S. Lowenthal

Nita Lowey

Ben Ray Lujan

Stephen F. Lynch

Carolyn Maloney

Carolyn McCarthy

Betty McCollum

Jim McDermott

James P. McGovern

Patrick E. Murphy

Grace F. Napolitano

Gloria Negrete McLeod

Rick Nolan

Gregory Meeks

Michael H. Michaud

George Miller

Gwen Moore

James P. Moran

Jerrold Nadler

Richard E. Neal

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Beto O’Rourke

Frank Pallone, Jr.

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Ed Pastor

Donald M. Payne, Jr.

Ed Perlmutter

Gary C. Peters

Chellie Pingree

Pedro R. Pierluisi

Mark Pocan

David Price

Mike Quigley

Nick J. Rahall

Charles Rangel

Cedric Richmond

Lucille Roybal-Allard

C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Bobby L. Rush

Tim Ryan

Linda T. Sanchez

Loretta Sanchez

John P. Sarbanes

Janice D. Schakowsky

Adam B. Schiff

Allyson Y. Schwartz

Brad Sherman

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott

Jose E. Serrano

Terri A. Sewell

Carol Shea-Porter

Kyrsten Sinema

Albio Sires

Louise M. Slaughter

Jackie Speier

Mark Takano

Bennie Thompson

Mike Thompson

John F. Tierney

Dina Titus

Paul  Tonko

Marc Veasey

Nydia Velázquez

Chris Van Hollen

Juan Vargas

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Maxine Waters

Melvin L. Watt

Henry A. Waxman

Peter Welch

Frederica Wilson

John A. Yarmuth