Friday, February 6, 2009

House Democrats push through increased benefits for unemployed

House Democratic supporters of the bill dubbed it “Money for Main Street,” citing the immediate effect the added money will mean to families struggling to make ends meet, as well as the businesses that rely on them. The bill, HB 1906, increases unemployment-program benefits by $45 a week for workers in the program. Eligibility for retraining help is also broadened to take in honorably discharged veterans, disabled citizens, and low-wage workers.

“These are unemployed workers struggling to pay the rent, put food on the table, and buy shoes for their kids,” said Rep. Steve Conway, the sponsor of the bill. “They’re not high-end investors; they’re not hoarding this money. They’ll take this money to their local grocery store. And they’ll help that grocery store stay in business, as this money circulates throughout our economy.”

“This is a smart plan with a heart,” said Rep. Tina Orwall. “We understand the challenges people are facing, so we created this stimulus package designed to help struggling families and businesses, and to help them when they need it—which is now.”

Rep. Phyllis Kenney had this to say from the House Floor: “This bill is not just about un-employment, it’s really about re-employment. It’s about turning unemployment insurance from a passive income-maintenance program into an active tool for economic development.”

Read the full story here.