October 26, 2009

CARDIN CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE PASSAGE OF A STRONG UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENSION TO PROVIDE MARYLANDERS WITH ADDITIONAL BENEFITS

BALTIMORE -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today joined Maryland Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Alexander Sanchez at a press conference to call for congressional passage of   a strong Unemployment Insurance (UI) bill that would extend benefits another 14 weeks in all states, including Maryland.  The House has passed a bill that would extend UI benefits only to states with unemployment rates of 8.5 percent or higher.

 

Senator Cardin called for final passage of the much stronger Senate version of the bill that " guarantees an additional 14 weeks of UI benefits to Americans who - through no fault of their own - have found it extremely difficult to get a job in this recession."

 

The September Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that while Maryland's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, below the national average of 9.8 percent and the 8.5 percent cutoff contained in the House bill, six Maryland jurisdictions have high unemployment rates at or above 8.5 percent.   Those six Maryland counties are:  Baltimore City (10.6 percent); Caroline County (8.8 percent); Cecil County (8.6 percent); Dorchester County (10.9 percent); Somerset County (9.5 percent) and Washington County (9.4 percent).

 

"We are in the most serious recession since the Great Depression and unemployment knows no state boundaries.   People who have lost their job and cannot find employment should receive an extension solely because of their job status, not because of where they live," said Senator Cardin, an original co-sponsor of the Senate amendment to HR 3548, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.  

 

"We need to pass the strongest possible UI bill to help all jobless Americans who are facing financial catastrophe because of this recession."

 

 "We greatly appreciate Senator Cardin's leadership on an issue of critical importance to 70,000 Marylanders who are currently receiving benefits from Maryland's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund," said Secretary Sanchez. "Unemployment continues to rise in Maryland and the rest of the nation, despite some hopeful signs in the economy, and we need to keep the lifeline of unemployment insurance strong for the people who need it most."

 

The latest Department of Labor figures show that almost 215,000 Marylanders looked for a job last month, but were unable to find employment.   It is projected that more than 25,000 Marylanders will exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of December if an extension is not passed.