Sunday, June 15, 2008

John Boozman's Unemployment Line

Congressman John Boozman (R-Pinnacle Gated Community) voted against the Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008 on Thursday. This legislation would bring much-needed relief to 3.8 million unemployed workers to assist them with rapidly rising gas and food costs, while they continue trying to find work and provide for their families in this sluggish economy.

Many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. The unemployment rate surged to 5.5% from 5.0%, the biggest one-month jump since 1982, climbing to the highest level in nearly four years. For five consecutive months, the U.S. economy has lost a total 324,000 jobs. The number of people looking for work climbed 861,000 to 8.5 million in May. These laid-off workers have spent years paying into our unemployment insurance system, yet the system is abandoning them when they need help the most. So did John Boozman.

Extending unemployment benefits provide direct assistance to the current and aspiring middle-class Americans likely to be hardest hit during the economic downturn, people who want to work but have lost their means of support through no fault of their own. John Boozman doesn’t think they deserve it.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, this legislation extending unemployment benefits would be one of the most cost-effective and fastest-acting forms of economic stimulus. Indeed, extension of unemployment benefits provides $1.64 in stimulus for every dollar spent, making the policy one of the most effective stimulus measures. John Boozman doesn't seem to care.

The bill passed by 274-137. All of Arkansas’ other Congressmen – Berry, Snyder, and Ross – voted for the bill. Boozman needs to explain to us why he voted NO. We need to hold him accountable for it.

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