Schakowsky Joins Cicilline and other Lawmakers in Seeking Meeting with Majority Leader-Elect to Discuss Extending Unemployment Insurance

June 27, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC – During a press conference on Wednesday highlighting the harm Congress’s failure to renew unemployment insurance has on America’s veterans, U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) unveiled a letter to House Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and signed by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Sandy Levin (D-MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Dan Kildee (D-MI), and Steve Horsford (D-NV) requesting to meet to discuss a path forward to renew unemployment insurance for over 3.1 million Americans, including nearly 300,000 veterans.

On June 1, the U.S. Senate bill to retroactively reinstate emergency unemployment insurance expired. This latest setback comes after the House allowed emergency unemployment benefits to expire three days after Christmas. Unless Congress renews this critical lifeline, more than 5 million Americans will be affected by the end of the year.

In the letter to Majority Leader-elect McCarthy, the lawmakers wrote: “Under your new leadership, you have an opportunity to bring both sides of the aisle together to find a solution to this problem. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity and sit down with us to discuss how we can work together to provide relief to the long-term unemployed. At a time when so many families all across the country are struggling to make ends meet, we should be doing everything we can to provide assistance to Americans who continue to look for work.”

The lapse in benefits has also impacted the economy, with the Congressional Budget Office projecting that extending the program would create 200,000 jobs this year.

In January, Cicilline introduced a bill to extend unemployment insurance for struggling out-of-work Americans and earlier this year, signed a discharge petition, designed to force a vote on legislation renewing unemployment insurance, even over the opposition of the Speaker of the House, if it garners enough signatures.

Furthermore, Cicilline launched his “Faces of the Unemployed” project in April to help put a human face on this crisis by placing the photos and quotes of constituents who have lost their benefits outside his Washington office. Schakowsky launched her "Faces of the Unemployed" project in May to have the same impact, focusing on Illinoisans. All Represenatives involved will continue to push this fight to renew UI for American families.