With One Phone Call, Bush Could Relieve the Economic Pain of Millions

Editor's note: The following is a press release from the office of Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA).

"By making just one telephone call, the President could single-handedly jump start the U.S. economy and throw economic lifelines to millions of unemployed Americans," Rep. Jim McDermott, chairman of the Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee, which oversees the nation's unemployment insurance system, said today. He made the comment following release of troubling new data that shows a surge in unemployment filings to levels not seen since the aftermath of 9/11.

Rep. McDermott explained that his legislation, H.R. 6867, to extend unemployment benefits passed the House in early October on a massive bi-partisan vote of 368-28, but the legislation stalled when Senate Republicans, after consultation with the President, would not permit the legislation to come to the floor for a vote. The bill would extend benefits a minimum of seven weeks in every state, but 13 weeks in states where the unemployment rate has averaged 6 percent or higher over three months.

"When 85 percent of the House of Representatives vote in favor of anything, which was the case with my bill to extend unemployment benefits, that is a dramatic expression of strong support across party lines, state lines, and unemployment lines," McDermott said. "The House demonstrated the will to act and the President can show the way by making one telephone call to the Senate Republican leader to support the immediate passage of legislation to extend UI benefits."

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