Sens. Murray, Cantwell Release New Government Report Showing 21,500 Workers in Washington to Lose Unemployment Benefits

Mar 31 2004

Today is the last day for any federal unemployment benefits to be paid out

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell released a report showing that 21,500 workers in Washington state have exhausted unemployment benefits in the first three months of 2004 and that if unemployment benefits are not extended, an additional 24,663 workers in the state will lose benefits in the next three months.

The new report also finds that extending federal unemployment insurance benefits would provide $320 million in economic stimulus to Washington state. Murray and Cantwell released the report on March 31, the final day of the most recent extension of the federal unemployment insurance program, which began phasing out in late December 2003. As of today, more than one million Americans have seen their benefits expire.

Murray said, "The Administration’s hopeful predictions for the future do not help those who are hurting right now. Over 21,000 workers in Washington state who were depending on Congress to act are set to lose benefits they depend on today. Extending unemployment insurance for out of work Americans puts money back into their hands, and they in turn put it back into the economy. This is the right thing to do for our workers and it is the right thing to do for our economy."

Cantwell stated, "It is wrong for the federal government to abandon unemployed workers during these difficult economic times. Families are struggling to make their house payments and put food on the table while they worry about where their next paycheck will come from. We need to help families while we try to create new jobs." Murray and Cantwell are asking for a six-month extension of federal unemployment insurance, to provide 13 weeks of additional benefits for jobless workers.