November 04, 2009


Senator Urges Adoption of Senate Language That Extends Unemployment Insurance Benefit 14 Weeks to All Americans

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today praised Senate passage of a strong Unemployment Insurance (UI) bill that would extend unemployment benefits another 14 weeks to 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 urged the adoption 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 Senator stressed that while the Maryland September unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, below the national average of 9.8 percent or 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 boundary.   Individuals who have lost their job and cannot find employment should be entitled to this extension solely because of their job status, not because of where they live," said Senator Cardin, a co-sponsor of the amendment to HR 3548, the Workers, Home Owners and Business Assistance Act.


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


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.