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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 8:32 am | Fair 52º


Capps Votes to Extend Emergency Jobless Benefits

The legislation extends unemployment programs through Nov. 30

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, voted Thursday to restore and extend unemployment benefits for those looking for work on the Central and South coasts.

The bill extends the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs through Nov. 30. It also retroactively restores benefits to people who may have started losing their benefits as early as the end of May, some after just 26 weeks, after Senate Republicans blocked consideration of extension legislation in late May. The bill passed the House by a vote of 270-153.

Extending unemployment benefits is widely acknowledged to be beneficial not just for the unemployed and their families, but for the economy as a whole.

According to Moodys.com chief economist Mark Zandi, every dollar in unemployment benefits creates at least $1.63 in economic activity as recipients spend their benefits in neighborhood businesses.

The current lapse in extended benefits is unprecedented: Since 1959, the government has never allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire when the national unemployment rate is still above 7.2 percent. The current rate stands at 9.7 percent.

“Extending unemployment benefits during times of high unemployment provide critical support to families trying make ends meet as we continue to recover from the worst recession in generations. But it also provides a critical boost to local economies because the benefits are spent right away, putting money into local businesses almost immediately,” Capps said. “Senate Republicans need to stop obstructing this important legislation and allow a straight up or down vote on it.”

— Ashley Schapitl is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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