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President's Extension of Unemployment Benefits Will Result in Longer Unemployment

For Immediate Release. May 29, 2003Once again President George W. Bush overlooked what was fundamentally correct economically and did what was politically expedient when on May 28, 2003, he signed into law legislation that would make available through December an extension of federal unemployment benefits. 

On May 22, 2003, Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 2003 (H.R. 2185) passed the House of Representatives by a 409 to 19 vote.  This measure extends a program that provides 13 weeks of emergency unemployment benefits to those who have used up their state aid.  Without debate or a roll call, the Senate quickly approved the Housed passed measure. 

To provide extra benefits for unemployed workers who would exhaust state benefits starting in June, Congress had to act because the federal program is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2003.   

Tragically, Republicans and the President continue to make it easier for the Democrats to have an election year issue of unemployment.    A similar measure, the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Extension Act (S. 23), was signed into law on January 8, 2003, by President Bush.  The result of this was an increase in the time an individual spends on unemployment.   Furthermore, the fact that recipients wait until their benefits are exhausted to take their next job, lengthening unemployment when unemployment benefits are extended or increased, is supported by dozen of economic research papers. 

“When benefits are about to be exhausted, workers are almost three times more successful in finding employment,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy. “Such actions do not provide a safety-net for workers.  Instead, they provide a crutch when jobs are available but not at wages that might be desirable to the employment seeker.”   

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
757-436-5927
jrutkowski@americanvoiceinstitute.org

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