July 15, 2010

Mason, 30 state legislators call on Congress for jobless benefits action

State Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, sent a letter Thursday to each member of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation, asking for quick action to extend unemployment benefits. The letter was co-signed by 30 other legislators, including State Sen. John Lehman and Rep. Bob Turner, also Racine Democrats.

The letter said that more than 72,000 Wisconsin families lost unemployment benefits because Congress failed to approve an extension before leaving for its July 4th recess. "Congress' failure to pass this extension before taking a vacation is shameful," Mason wrote.

"As state Legislators, we hear every day from constituents who are anxiously watching time run out on their unemployment insurance. Many have only a few weeks of eligibility remaining and face mounting stress as they wonder how they will pay for basic necessities should these vital benefits come to an abrupt end," the letter said.

The House of Representatives did approve a bill to extend benefits, but the Senate failed to act before its recess.

“While our economy is definitely heading in the right direction, I know that recovery is slow. For those laid-off workers still searching for jobs, unemployment benefits are often the only thing keeping their families financially afloat,” Mason said. “Cutting benefits right now is the worst thing Congress could do to these workers, their families, and for the economic recovery we’ve worked so hard to accomplish.

“Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to recognize the importance of providing a safety net to workers struggling to get by between jobs. I hope that our Congressional delegation will remember our state’s proud history and work diligently and quickly to secure the votes to pass an extension of these benefits,” Mason concluded.