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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [02/26/2010]
Contact Name: Jaime Zapata
Phone Number: (202) 693-4676
Release Number: 10-0262-NAT

Statement of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on legislation to extend unemployment insurance, COBRA safety net programs

Editorís Note: The Senate recessed today, Feb. 26, without approving legislation that would have extended emergency unemployment insurance benefits for workers who have lost their jobs and health insurance subsidies under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The current program is scheduled to expire on Feb. 28.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement:

"It is essential that Congress extend the unemployment insurance and COBRA safety net programs that are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act past their current expiration date of Feb. 28. If Emergency Unemployment Compensation and full federal funding of the Extended Benefit program are not extended, 400,000 Americans will lose these vital benefits during the first couple of weeks in March. By May, nearly 3 million people would be left without these benefits. Furthermore, if the Recovery Act COBRA subsidy is not extended, thousands of families will lose access to affordable health care.

"I am disappointed that partisan politics have been interjected into this essential extension. The American people need and deserve better. We cannot stop supporting workers who desperately seek jobs but in many cases simply cannot find them. For many households with an unemployed worker, these benefits are the only thing that allows them to keep paying the bills and supporting their families as they look for new employment.

"In addition to providing relief to millions of unemployed, extending these benefits is vital to recovery. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, benefit programs like unemployment insurance are one of the most timely and cost-effective ways to spur economic activity and employment."