Rep. John Garamendi on Thursday lamented that the House ended its session without extending unemployment insurance.
Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, joined 114 other members who signed a letter to Speaker John Boehner calling on him to delay the start of a district work period until a vote on an extension was held.
“I can’t force a vote, but I can force a conversation,” Garamendi said in a statement. “The letters and calls my office is getting from constituents who don’t know how they’re going to feed their families, who don’t know how they’re going to pay their rent, are heartbreaking.
“We need a comprehensive jobs plan in America, and we need it now. Until then, so long as there are three job-seekers for every job available in America, we must continue with the unemployment insurance extension.”
On Dec. 28, 1.3 million Americans — including 213,793 Californians — lost their unemployment insurance when it expired. Of those, 14,217 were in District 3 — and 864 in Yolo County.
Another 200,000 people have lost their unemployment insurance since. That number will grow by 100,000 if an extension isn’t passed by Jan. 28, the House’s second day back after the district break.
Two Democratic extension measures failed in the Senate earlier in the week. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called it “incredibly disappointing that this all-important extension has been derailed by more partisan squabbling.”
“With long-term unemployment at its highest point since World War II, these delays are simply unacceptable,” she said in a statement.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in December that a one-year extension of jobless benefits would create 200,000 jobs, because recipients would increase their spending on goods and services, boosting production and hiring by businesses.