Wednesday, December 11, 2013

174 House Democrats Signed a Letter Demanding a Vote on Long-Term UI Extension. Who Hasn't Signed?

The Murray-Ryan budget deal presented last night, as you probably already know, does not include an extension of unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed.

Earlier today, 166 House Democrats wrote to Speaker John Boehner urging a vote on the extension of unemployment insurance before Congress goes on break for Christmas. Since then, eight more have joined: the site now reads 174. Reps. Sander Levin, Barbara Lee, and Lloyd Doggett organized the letter.

Here's the text:
Dear Speaker Boehner: We write to urge you to address the looming expiration of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans before leaving for 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 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.
There are 200 representatives in the House Democratic caucus at the moment (201 after Katherine Clark is sworn in). Three of the letter's signers are delegates, not representatives, and have no voting power: Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Pedro Pierluisi (PR), and Donna Christensen (VI). That means that 29 Democrats haven't yet signed the letter. 
There are 30 names missing from the letter. I am going to assume that Nancy Pelosi might be the one who is included in the count but whose name does not appear. We know she was promoting the letter this afternoon:

So, who are the 29?
Ron Barber (AZ-02)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
John Carney (DE)
Joe Garcia (FL-26)
John Barrow (GA-12)
David Scott (GA-13)
Robin Kelly (IL-02)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Peter Visclosky (IN-01)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Timothy Walz (MN-01)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Dan Maffei (NY-24)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Eddie Johnson (TX-30)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Adam Smith (WA-09)

If your representative is on that list of non-signers, call his/her office. You can find the numbers here.
Whether your representatives are on the list or not, you should tell them to oppose any budget deal that does not extend the EUC program---or any budget deal as punitive to federal workers as the deal negotiated by Murray and Ryan.

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