Congressman Ben Ray Luján: Time for House to Act on Unemployment Benefits Extension

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District again called on House Republican leaders to take action on an extension of unemployment insurance now that the Senate has passed legislation to extend this critical safety net. Yesterday, by a vote of 59 to 38, the Senate passed a bill extending unemployment insurance for five months. The Senate bill would assist 14,100 people in New Mexico.

“During this difficult economic time, many friends and neighbors throughout New Mexico have struggled to find work. Unemployment insurance should be there to help them weather these tough times and make end meet while they continue to look for employment,” Congressman Luján said. “For more than three months, I have called for action to extend unemployment insurance that helps families pay the rent and put food on the table. Time and again these calls have fallen on deaf ears in the Republican-led House. Now that the Senate has passed legislation to extend unemployment insurance, there is no excuse for House Republicans to continue to stand on the sidelines.”

The House has failed to act on this issue since unemployment insurance began expiring for long-term unemployed Americans at the end of December. Since that time, 72,000 Americans a week have seen this important lifeline disappear. Across the country, nearly 3 million Americans have lost these benefits, including more than 9,700 people in New Mexico. Luján has repeatedly called for a vote in the House to extend unemployment insurance, and last month he signed onto a discharge petition to try to force a vote on legislation that includes an extension through the end of the year.