On Thursday June 10, 2010, Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support of the Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing to discuss policies regarding the long term unemployed. According to a press release on the House Ways and Means website, the hearing is scheduled to get underway around 9:30am EST.
The hearing will discuss how long term unemployment affects individuals, their families, and the economy. Even though there have some small gains in the economy regarding growth and job creation, there is still the issue of the long term unemployed. According to the press release, nearly half of all people currently on unemployment have been collecting benefits for more than 6 months.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman McDermott stated,“Our first step to respond to long-term unemployment is obvious — continue the emergency federal unemployment programs to prevent millions of workers from losing their benefits….. But we also need to think about additional steps to help those trying to return to work.”
The long term unemployed respond to the hearing
Although the Senate is currently debating a bill (HR 4213) that would extend the deadline Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits to the end of November 2010, it does not provide any relief for those who have exhausted their benefits. These people have nicknamed themselves 99’ers for the number of weeks they have collected unemployment and still cannot find work. One of those 99’ers is Donna Davies, who runs the Facebook page Tier V To Survive. She ran out of benefits on March 18th and has been forced to sell her house and move her family into an apartment.
“It’s better late than never,” says Davies regarding the upcoming hearing. “There should be no debate, until jobs are restored for those that have worked their entire lives, benefits must be extended…I just hope that they see how many of us there are, and that we have a voice.”
Mike White of California is a soon to be 99’er. He lost his job in 2008 and hasn’t even landed an interview in 2 years. He submitted his testimony to Congressman McDermott’s office regarding tomorrow’s hearing on long term unemployment. “I am heartened to see that Rep. McDermott is holding this hearing and taking the subject of the long term unemployed seriously,” says White. “I can only hope that this will lead to a Tier 5 or something like it for those of us who have exhausted all our Unemployment Benefits, because so many people I know either have lost or are about to lose their homes as a result of this economic disaster we are experiencing.”
If you are long term unemployed and want your voice heard in Washington, submit your testimony by clicking here and selecting click here to provide a submission for the record. Follow instructions.
Chairman McDermott Announces Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment, House Ways and Means Committee press release June 3, 2010
Email correspondence with Donna Davies June 7, 2010
Email correspondence with Mike White June 2 & 8, 2010
Budd, Jennifer Senate Prepares to Debate Bill that Would Extend Unemployment Benefits, Associated Content June 7, 2010 (updated June 8th)