Baldwin pushes for extension of emergency unemployment benefits


U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Jan. 7 voted for the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, legislation that would restore and extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months.

The procedural 60-37 vote was bipartisan and set the stage for a final vote on the measure, which still would need approval in the U.S. House.

Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, said in a statement, “I’m proud that we were able to come together in a bipartisan way and get this done. Restoring economic assistance for Americans who have lost their jobs and are trying to find new ones is the right thing to do, and is good for the country’s economy.”

She added, “Wisconsin’s economy continues to lag behind other states and far too many hard working people are still looking for a job. Now is not the time to make things harder for them by ending emergency unemployment assistance. Wisconsin’s economy can’t afford the expiration of unemployment insurance because it will cost our economy jobs and slow growth. Passing emergency unemployment compensation will help Wisconsin families put gas in the car and food on the table as they search for work. This bipartisan legislation will provide a lifeline for Wisconsin families as they search for work in our recovering economy.”
About 1.3 million workers, including 23,700 Wisconsinites, lost all unemployment benefits when Congress failed to act on an extension before the end of December. That month, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 4,420 people in Wisconsin filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of November. That is more claims than the next two highest states combined: Ohio with 2,597 and Kentucky with 1,538.

If emergency unemployment compensation is not extended, about 41,800 additional Wisconsin workers looking for a job will exhaust their state-funded 26 weeks of unemployment benefits in the first half of 2014. In addition, 99,000 Wisconsinites are projected to be affected this year if emergency unemployment compensation is not extended.