Etheridge calls for unemployment benefit extension

Washington, D.C. -— U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) voted yesterday for H.R. 5618, the Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act, which would have extended unemployment insurance benefits to tens of thousands of North Carolina families in need.

The legislation garnered a majority of votes in the House of Representatives, but Republican opposition prevented the bill from receiving the 2/3 majority required for passage under the House rules.

“Too many families in my district are hurting, and I call on my colleagues to join with me to help those in need,” Etheridge said. “Our economy is starting to turn the corner, but North Carolinians need these benefits to tide them over until they find a job.”

H.R. 5618 would have extended critical unemployment insurance benefits through November 30, 2010 to help Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Without this bill, by July 3, 2010, approximately 1.7 million unemployed workers nationwide will lose their unemployment benefits. Locally, about 7,200 unemployed workers in North Carolina will lose their unemployment benefits in the same time.

Etheridge has heard from thousands of North Carolinians about their struggles in this economy. One woman from Spring Lake, N.C. said, “This is so very important! So many families, single moms like myself are just one benefit away from being homeless. Please help the people in your district, because we are at the end of our rope.”

“This is an emergency for thousands of workers and their families in North Carolina right now,” Etheridge said. “Congress needs to act now to make sure every North Carolinian who is willing to work hard can make the most of his or her God-given abilities. Extending this economic lifeline is the right thing to do for workers, and the right thing to do to keep our economy on track for recovery.”