WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today urged an extension on unemployment insurance to prevent 79,000 Ohioans from exhausting benefits by the end of the month. As the Senate prepares to break a filibuster of legislation extending unemployment insurance this evening, Brown urged his colleagues to end their obstruction of unemployment insurance extension in order to provide assistance to Ohioans looking for work.
"Many of my colleagues had no problem giving tax breaks to companies that shipped jobs overseas, but now balk at extending unemployment insurance," Brown said. "Unemployed Ohioans want to work, but need assistance to make ends meet while they search for jobs in a tough economy. We need to act now to prevent 79,000 Ohioans from exhausting benefits by the end of this month."
Eligible workers may receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits. Previous extensions created two tiers of additional coverage: Tier 1, which provides up to 20 additional weeks of benefits, and Tier 2, which provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits. The latest long-term extension, passed in Nov. 2009, added one additional week to the Tier 2 benefits and created two new tiers: Tier 3 (up to 13 additional weeks of benefits) and Tier 4 (up to 6 additional weeks of benefits for workers in hard-hit states like Ohio).
According to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, an estimated 17,000 Ohioans exhausted all possible weeks of benefits by the end of March. Another 79,000 Ohioans could exhaust all benefits by the end of April if Congress does not extend federal Unemployment Compensation benefits.
A vote to block the Republican filibuster of unemployment insurance is scheduled in the Senate this evening.