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Bill Cassidy’s Opposition To Extending Unemployment Benefits For Louisianians Looking For Work Is A Shameful Example Of His Anti-Louisiana Agenda

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Contact: Andrew Zucker; 504-457-8141

Bill Cassidy’s Opposition To Extending Unemployment Benefits For Louisianians Looking For Work Is A Shameful Example Of His Anti-Louisiana Agenda

Cassidy Has Already Helped End Unemployment Insurance For Nearly 8,000 Louisianians & More Than 30,000 In Louisiana Could Lose Assistance This Year

New Orleans, Louisiana – Bill Cassidy ought to be ashamed of himself. After recklessly leading a 16-day shutdown of the federal government that cost Louisiana more than $90 million and hurt Louisiana’s small-business owners, seniors, students, homeowners and children, now Bill Cassidy won’t extend unemployment insurance for tens of thousands of Louisianians looking for work.

As a result of Cassidy’s shameful refusal to help Louisiana families, unemployment insurance has already expired for nearly 8,000 Louisianians who have been looking for work for at least 26 weeks. If Cassidy continues to oppose a sensible extension of benefits that allow families to continue to afford basic necessities such as rent, groceries and gas to continue searching for employment, more than 30,000 Louisianans could lose their benefits, too.

“While some Louisianians are struggling to find work, Bill Cassidy is shamefully opposing an extension of unemployment insurance that helps struggling families afford rent, groceries and even fuel for their cars to continue searching for a job,” said Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director Andrew Zucker. “Unfortunately this is exactly what Louisianians have come to expect from Bill Cassidy. In the past few months alone Bill Cassidy has recklessly shut down the government and helped to end basic unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of Louisianians, and it’s clear he’d hurt Louisiana even more in the Senate.”

Bill Cassidy’s opposition to extending unemployment insurance for Louisianians has cost Louisiana more than $1.6 million in the first week of January, alone.

BACKGROUND

12/28/13: 7,832 Louisianians Lost Unemployment Benefits Following The Expiration Of Emergency Unemployment Compensation. [House Ways and Means Committee Democrats, accessed 1/7/13]

The Department Of Labor Estimated 30,400 Louisianians Would Be Affected If Emergency Unemployment Compensation Was Not Extended In 2014. [Council of Economic Advisers, December 2013]

CASSIDY REFUSED TO TAKE POSITION ON EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Cassidy Would Not Say Whether He Would Support An Extension Of Unemployment Benefits But Said That The U.S. Should Increase Jobs By “Using America’s Natural Resources.” “Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, didn’t say whether he would support an extension of unemployment benefits, but called increasing jobs the most effective strategy to help the unemployed. ‘The way you create jobs is by using America’s natural resources,’ he said in a statement.” [Times-Picayune, 12/6/13]

CASSIDY HAS OPPOSED EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN THE PAST

Cassidy Would Not Support Extending Unemployment Benefits Without Identifying The Source Of The Funds. The Advocate reported on a proposal to extend emergency federally-funded unemployment benefits: “That sentiment was echoed by Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge. ‘It all depends on whether or not it’s paid for,’ Cassidy said Tuesday. ‘This bill borrows $12 billion from future generations.’” [The Advocate, 12/1/10]

  • Without Extending Emergency Federally Funded Unemployment Benefits, 27,000 Louisianans Could Have Lost Benefits By Christmas. The Advocate reported on a proposal to extend emergency federally-funded unemployment benefits: “If Congress chooses to not extend emergency federally funded unemployed benefits to the out-of-work, some 27,000 Louisianans could be affected as early as the Christmas season.” [The Advocate, 12/1/10]

November 2010: Cassidy Voted Against Extending Unemployment Benefits. In November 2010, Cassidy voted against extending federal unemployment insurance benefits through February 2011 for the long-term unemployed who had exhausted the typical 26 weeks provided by the states. The bill would also provide 100 percent federal funding to state programs to cover additional implementation costs. An estimated 2 million Americans were set to lose their benefits without Congressional action by the end of that month. The bill failed, 258-154, without a two-thirds majority required for bills under suspension rules. [[CQ Weekly, 11/22/10; HR 6419, Vote #579, 11/18/10]

July 2010: Cassidy Voted Against Extending Unemployment Benefits. In 2010, Cassidy voted against extending unemployment benefits for workers who had exhausted their benefits. The extension, passed in July, would apply retroactively to June 2, and would expire at the end of November.  The legislation provided 100 percent federal funding to state unemployment programs to cover additional implementation costs and would add $33.9 billion to the deficit over 10 years. The bill passed, 272-152. [CQ Today, 7/22/10; HR 4213, Vote #463, 7/22/10]

July 2010: Cassidy Voted Against Extending Unemployment Benefits. In 2010, Cassidy voted against extending expired unemployment benefits to approximately 1.7 million people who had lost benefits between the end of May and July 3.  The bill would extend through November 30, extended eligibility for unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. The measure would make the extension retroactive to June 2, when the provisions expired, meaning that eligible workers could receive benefits retroactively. The bill also included an amendment that would prevent payment of jobless benefits to known or suspected terrorists; individuals convicted of sex offenses against minors; and illegal immigrants. The bill passed, 270-153. [CQ Today, 7/01/10; HR 5618, Vote #423, 7/01/10]

June 2010: Cassidy Opposed Extending Unemployment Benefits to 1.7 Million People. In 2010, Cassidy voted against extending federal unemployment benefits that expired in early June through November 30, 2010. Another 1.7 million people would see their benefits expire if not passed, according to the House Ways and Means Committee.  House Democrats urged their colleagues to assist the unemployed, asserting that the bill would support consumer spending and help stimulate the economy. Historically, Congress had extended benefits in economic emergencies without finding offsets. The $33.9 billion cost over a decade would was not offset. The bill failed under suspension rules requiring a two-thirds majority, 261-155. [CQ Today, 6/29/10; HR 5618, Vote #398, 6/29/10]

February 2012: Cassidy Voted Against Renewing Long-Term Unemployment Benefits. In 2012, Cassidy voted against renewing long-term unemployment benefits as a part of bill to extend the payroll tax cut. The bill renewed long-term unemployment benefits into January 2013. The cost of the bill was partially offset by requiring larger pension payments from newly hired federal employees and lawmakers, auctioning blocks of electromagnetic spectrum used by television broadcasters, and reducing funds for programs listed in the Affordable Care Act. [CQ Vote Summary, 2/17/12] The bill passed 293-132. [H.R. 3630, Vote #72, 2/17/12]

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