Conyers Invites Candace Adams - an Unemployed Constituent - to State of the Union, Underscoring Necessity of Job Creating Policies
House Democrats Urge Immediate Action to Extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program
(WASHINGTON) – Today, House Democrats held a press conference, with unemployed guests they had invited to the State of the Union Address, urging Congressional action to extend the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired on December 28th because inadequate action was taken by House and Senate Republicans. Since then, more than 1.6 million Americans nationwide have had benefits cut off and this number continues to grow by 72,000 additional job seeking Americans every week. Following the press conference and prior to the State of the Union Address, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement:
“Today, I invited a young unemployed constituent of mine, Ms. Candace Adams, to attend the State of the Union Address to put a face on the millions of unemployed Americans who have received little relief from this Congress. Although she is not one of the 1.6 million Americans who have lost access to unemployment insurance, she is one of 5.8 million young Americans who cannot find work, are not in school, and are ineligible to collect benefits because they have never held a job,” Conyers said.
Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) prior to the State of the Union Address standing alongside his invited constituent guest, Candace Adams.
“Ms. Adams returned to school for a master’s degree in Communications in the hopes that an advanced degree would assist in her search, but it was to no avail. Extending emergency unemployment compensation legislation is critical to help Americans pay the bills and feed their families as they look for a job. House and Senate Republicans must work with Democrats to allow a vote so Congress can extend this vital relief for people who worked hard, played by the rules, and lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This lifeline is not only key for these families to make ends meet, but also will help keep up consumer demand to strengthen local businesses.
“Above all, we must look at long-term solutions to lead this country back to an era of full employment, and put 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans back to work so that they do not have to rely on unemployment insurance. It is long past time for Congress to focus on policies that will create jobs to put all hardworking Americans back to work while rebuilding our communities. My full employment legislation, H.R. 1000, the ‘Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act’ would be a perfect place to start.”
At the end of December, 1.3 million Americans lost unemployment insurance, which has now risen to 1.6 million Americans. This included 43,311 Michiganders in December when the program expired. That number has grown to 53,292 and will continue to grow as 3,327 additional Michiganders lose benefits every week over the next six months. The federal unemployment insurance program - formally called Emergency Unemployment Compensation - took effect in 2008 and was signed by President George W. Bush and has been reauthorized several times as the economy continues to recover. Despite the real progress the economy has made since its near collapse in 2008, there are still over 1 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession and more than 4 million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer. On average, nationwide, the program provides about $300 a week to recipients. Failure to extend federal unemployment insurance will hurt job growth locally and throughout the nation, costing the economy 240,000 jobs this year, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.