The House of Representatives today approved Rep. Jim McDermott's bill to extend unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans for 13 weeks. Those jobless in states with more than 6 percent unemployment would get 26 weeks of additional benefits under the bill. States currently meeting that requirement include: Michigan, Alaska, California, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.
According to data from McDermott's office, Washington has upwards of 15,000 workers who have exhausted their benefits and remain unemployed and an additional 39,000 people projected to be in that position by March of next year. "The American people should have only one question on their minds today: How bad does it have to get before the President and Republican leadership decide to join Democrats in extending a helping hand by extending unemployment benefits?" McDermott said in a statement this afternoon.
Kudos to Seattle's Congressional ambassador for rolling up his sleeves, using his powerful subcommittee chairmanship and moving legislation that would affect folks back home.
But his work's not done. The measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate. A companion bill, introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy in January still awaits action in the Senate Finance Committee. And the White House is already threatening a veto.