Hoyer: Extending Federal Payments to Unemployed Will Reduce Unemployment

December 6, 2011 - 5:37 PM
Steny Hoyer

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Md., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(CNSNews.com) - House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday that passing unemployment insurance will allow the jobless “to continue participating in growing the economy and creating jobs.”

Passing legislation that would extend unemployment insurance (UI) “is not just for people who are unemployed. It’s for getting people who are unemployed the opportunity to continue to participate in growing the economy and creating jobs,” said Hoyer during his weekly pen and pad briefing with reporters. 

“I believe that the Republicans don’t want to leave here without passing UI. That would be…coal in the stockings of the American people. Not just [for] those who don’t have a job, but all of those who would be hurt by the additional burden that people who run out of unemployment would be in terms of food stamps, welfare payments, TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families], and failure to help boost the economy,” added Hoyer.

Republicans and Democrats have sparred over how and whether or not an extension of unemployment benefits should be paid for.

“Unemployment insurance ought to be paid for,” said Hoyer on Tuesday. “It ought to be paid for in the regular course over time. Why don’t you pay for it in the short-term? Because you don’t want to stimulate and depress at the same time.”

Regarding the extensions of benefits for the unemployed and the payroll tax cut, last week House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters, "Let's try and work incrementally towards a conclusion this session that can benefit all Americans. We Republicans do care about people that are out of work; we don't want to raise taxes on anybody."

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also said, "If in fact we can find common ground on these extensions, I think you can take to the bank the fact that they will be paid for.”

President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress enacted an extension in unemployment benefits a year ago that will expire at the end of this month.

For the second consecutive holiday season, lawmakers must decide whether or not to extend the benefits for the unemployed.