Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Calls on House Republicans to Extend Unemployment Benefits

November 21, 2002

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader-Elect Nancy Pelosi today called on the House Republican Leadership to pass a bipartisan Senate bill tomorrow that would extend unemployment insurance to 800,000 people who will lose their benefits on December 28.

“It is unbelievable to me that in their mad rush to leave town, the Republican Leadership is unwilling to help these workers,” said Pelosi. “This weak economy is causing real pain. The unemployed workers and their families who will spend the holidays wondering how to make ends meet must know who is responsible for this needless travesty.”

Last week, House Republicans rejected a bipartisan bill to extend unemployment benefits through March, which was negotiated by Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) and supported by the White House. And yesterday, the House Leadership again rejected bipartisan efforts in the Senate, this time to accept even the narrow five-week extension of unemployment benefits originally passed by the House.

“I have talked about clear differences between the two parties on the economy, and there is no better example than this,” Pelosi said. “I would hope the Republican Leadership would reconsider its decision.

“Tomorrow, the House will meet one more time before adjourning for the year. We could simply take up the bipartisan Senate bill, and agree to it unanimously. That action would send a positive signal about our willingness to work together to solve our economic problems.”

In addition to helping workers who need it, Pelosi said that unemployment insurance provides a targeted economic stimulus by immediately increasing consumer spending in the hardest-hit areas. Boosting consumer spending quickly is one of the most effective ways to bring about an economic recovery.

More than 8 million workers are currently unemployed. If the House refuses to act, 800,000 workers will lose their unemployment insurance on December 28 and an additional 90,000 workers per week will lose their benefits.


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