Lee Demands Relief for Long-Term Unemployed

November 30, 2011
Contact: Kristal DeKleer (202) 225-1882

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement at a press conference with unemployed workers, labor activists, Labor Secretary Solis, and members of the House and Senate to call for a renewal of federal unemployment insurance programs, scheduled to expire at the end of the year:

"Thank you to Ranking Member Levin, Congressman Doggett, Whip Hoyer, Assistant Leader Clyburn, Senator Harkin, Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, and all the other leaders that are working so hard for the millions of Americans struggling to find a job during this holiday season. I would also like to thank Secretary Solis for her leadership and commitment to getting America’s work force back to work.

"As this jobless recovery continues, more and more Americans are long-term unemployed and now the jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America’s unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

"2 million Americans have exhausted a full 99 weeks of unemployment and still cannot find a job.

"It is critical that we extend the expiring emergency unemployment insurance benefits before the end of the year, but that extension will not help the millions of Americans who have run out of time, the so-called 99ers. H.R. 589 is my bill to extend unemployment compensation for an additional fourteen weeks for the 99ers – and this bill must be included in an unemployment extension package going forward.

"The AP reports that early last year, 75 percent (of the unemployed) were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America's 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

"Providing support for America’s long-term unemployed will not only boost our stalled economy, but it will keep millions of families out of poverty which is the morally right thing to do. We need to reignite the American Dream and work to provide ladders of opportunity for all. We need UI extension and we need it now. Not just for the millions about to run out, but for the millions who ran out a long time ago."


Follow Barbara Lee on Twitter @RepBarbaraLee


  1. I've been unemployed for a long time its been 4 years since I found a steady job. All the jobs I've had only keep you for a couple weeks to a month. I was unemployed for 3 years and its hard trying to keep a job. I used up all my unemployment benefits and its hard trying to make ends meet. Especially since employers don't want to hire people or keep them and on top of that I can't file for unemployment because I ran out all of my weeks or I can't stay at a job long enough to collect it. This would be so nice if there was another bill passed for the unemployed because of christmas is just 3 weeks away. Just think about if you all were in our shoes would you really want to be left without any income. Please pass a bill.

  2. The extension would be a blessing but i would rather have a long term job.I haven't bought any gifts and if this persist it will be first Christmas ever i have no financial resources.Ilost my construction job 12-2-2009.I never thought to be in this position.Food stamps are something i never thought i would ask for but if something doesn't happen soon it may become a reality.I wonder sometimes what my 10 year old thinks seeing me home all the time,something he has never had to witness. i always thought i would find a job immediately.

  3. That would be an overdue miracle a ‘14 week extension for the '99ers'. This would help move the economy but more importantly help many from becoming homeless. This is not the time to turn our back on the unemployed that cannot find a job. Why hasn't Congress or the President for that matter already declared this a 'bill'? Many do not realize what it would be like if they were in this situation. Hard working people now struggling to find money to stay 'ALIVE'! People are actually contemplating suicide because they do not have the money to take care of themselves. I know first hand. From my post to God's ears.

  4. the first time i heard about the 14 weeks for the long term unemployed, was the last!................please put the conversation back on the table about us, (the 99ers) the long-term unemployment....we need u now more then ever..

  5. How true. If they don't add weeks to help the people who exhausted unemployment, I will lose my home.

  6. Not a miracle "GOD's Blessing" my unemployment ran out Feb. 2011. I to have worked for min. wage, assembly lines and temp positions to make ends meet. I lost my home, my car but not my dignity. I currently stay in an extended stay suite who threatens to throw me out every week. I have signed up with at least 30 employment agencies and have gone on seems like 100's of interviews. Everytime a temp. job is over I call unemployement to open a new claim for them to tell me I don't have enough money in the quarter that they are working on. I agree the employers don't keep you on the job long enough to collect unemployment. If this 14week extention is not passed I will be homeless, can't get food stamps because I have no address. Yes, it would be a blessing to me for the 14week extention.

  7. Well Ive been unemployed for over 4 years.I also am a construction worker in Florida and I cant find a job. Ive even tried to get a job at places that i never thought I would do but you gotta eat. Having said that after well over 1000 applications and resumes sent out I only recieved 3 interviews of which eachone told me I was over quailified. This is a joke if I had a business and a guy wanted towork for me at what Im paying and was (over quailified) Id hirer he in a nanosecond. Due to the fact that if he is over quailified he would be a asset to my business. And today Obama is welcoming home our troops and making Congress pass legislature that they will all have a job. Thats great cause I and Im hoping all of us agree that they deserve our thanks and respect. However its guys like me that build the buildings for companys so that theres places for people to work and we built the homes that now we are all getting thrown out of. I have worked hard all my life which is 40 years of hard labor so that these @$$&((($ have a house and a job that we voted into office only tohave them chit on us when we need some help. All I can say is this whole picture is wrong. I've lost my house and these guys now run for office spending millions of dollars to get elected. Why dont the people that give all that money give it to the people that really need it. Hell I'd be happy if they would just give me back all the taxes I have paid for 40 years which they spend on 600 dollar hammers and 500dollar toilet seat. As my best friend says guess its time tokeep your gun close and your powder dry cause its going to hit the fan sooner then we all think. Im hoping he is wrong but it sure isnt looking that way.


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