Murray Amendment to Help 35,000 Boeing Workers Becomes Law

Apr 16 2003

Provides additional 26 weeks of unemployment assistance for airline industry workers

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Senator Murray's amendment to provide 26 weeks of unemployment assistance for thousands of struggling airline industry workers became law as part of the War Supplemental bill signed today by the President.

More than 110,000 airline industry workers, including 35,000 Boeing workers, have lost their jobs due to the events of September 11th, the War in Iraq, and the nation-wide economic slowdown.

"I am proud to deliver this good news for the thousands of Boeing workers and others who have lost their jobs," Senator Murray said. "As Congress provides support to the airlines we will not forget about the industry's most important asset - our workers."

Murray's amendment to extend unemployment assistance to as many as 200,000 aviation industry workers was added to an airline assistance package during Senate consideration of the War Supplemental. Despite the 15 percent unemployment rate in the airline industry, the White House fought the workers provision at every step.

In a letter to Congressional leaders, the White House budget Chief Mitch Daniels wrote, "the Administration strongly opposes the provision in the Senate bill that provides extended unemployment insurance benefits to workers who are displaced from the airlines and related industries... the conferees are urged to drop this objectionable provision."

In fact, during the House-Senate conference committee, the Administration pressured congressional leaders to reduce the length of assistance from 26 to 13 weeks and to limit eligibility for assistance only to airline employees. This would have excluded Boeing workers and other aircraft producers and suppliers who.

But Murray successfully fought back these efforts to dilute her amendment and worked with several Republican colleagues to restore the benefits.

"While the Administration's opposition to helping workers is disappointing, the depth of bipartisan support in Congress for this measure is an important step forward. I will continue to work with my colleagues to stand up for America's workers in these difficult times."

Senator Murray's amendment will take effect immediately.