Following Key Procedural Hurdle, Sen. Brown Urges Congress To Extend Unemployment Insurance, Outlines 3-Point Plan To Create Jobs While Reducing The Budget

Brown’s 3-Point Plan to Create Jobs Includes Passing Farm Bill, Ending Chinese Currency Manipulation, and Passing Brown’s Job Training Bill; None Would Add to Budget

Brown Also Releases County-by-County Data on Ohioans Losing Unemployment Insurance After 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following yesterday’s vote that began Senate debate on a bill to renew unemployment insurance, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) held a news conference call to urge Congress to come together and pass legislation to extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans, including 128,000 Ohioans who will be affected by the end of the year without a renewal. Brown discussed the importance of renewing unemployment insurance, which would save jobs and provide economic certainty for Ohio’s middle class in the New Year.

“The Senate came together on one of the coldest days of the year to take the first step toward ensuring that unemployed Americans aren’t left out in the cold,” Brown said. “We must continue to fight for those who are still struggling after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. At a time when our economy is still recovering, extending emergency unemployment insurance would save Americans 240,000 jobs this year and help 1.3 million hard working Americans, including more than 128,000 Ohioans, pay the bills, heat their homes, and put food on the table while they search for new jobs.”   

According to a report generated last month by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, 1.3 million Americans would be affected immediately by Congress’ failure to extend jobless benefits, with another 3.6 million Americans set to lose benefits by the end of 2014. The report also projected that the reduction in job seekers’ incomes would lead to a fall in economic demand, which would cost 240,000 jobs this year. According to the study, for every dollar spent on unemployment insurance benefits, $1.55 is generated in economic recovery.

Immediately following the conference call, Brown released county-by-county data on the number of Ohioans who lost their unemployment insurance after 2013. In total, more than 52,000 Ohioans were immediately stripped of their Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits as a result of an extension not passing or their 63 weeks of eligibility for the program expiring. By the end of 2014, another 76,000 Ohioans will lose their emergency unemployment insurance if an extension is not passed.

The EUC program was authorized by Congress in 2008 and has supported nearly 69 million Americans, including almost 17 million children. In 2012, unemployment benefits helped keep about 2.5 million Americans further away from poverty, which included 600,000 children. Just in Ohio:

  • More than 790,000 Ohioans have received EUC benefits between 2008 and 2013;
  • If unemployment insurance is not extended, more than 128,000 Ohioans would lose their benefits, including 52,000 who have already lost benefits;
  • Since 2008, more than 6,500 Ohio jobs have been saved due to EUC benefits;
  • The average weekly unemployment benefits in Ohio is $318; and
  • The maximum weekly unemployment benefits in Ohio is $413.

During today’s news conference call, Brown also outlined a three point plan that would create jobs and strengthen our national and local economies while reducing the federal budget.

“Creating jobs and improving the economy should be our first priority,” Brown said. “My plan includes three pieces of legislation that would strengthen American competitiveness and the financial security of millions of citizens while reducing the deficit. By passing a farm bill and my jobs re-training bill, and cracking down on China when it cheats trade law by manipulating its currency, we would create jobs and reduce our deficit.” 

Brown’s three point plan includes:

1. Passing a Farm Bill that overhauls the farm safety net, bolsters rural economic development, supports bio-based manufacturing, and ensures access to healthy and affordable food. The centerpiece of the deficit reduction measures in the Senate bill is the new Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) program, a new approach to farm risk management ends the era of fixed, “direct payments” and only supports farmers when they face a loss due to price declines or weather disasters. The Senate bill would save $24 billion over 10 years compared to reauthorizing current farm programs. The Senate Farm Bill also expands development opportunities for Ohio Communities by emphasizing long-term economic growth strategies for rural areas.

 2. Passing Brown’s SECTORS Act, bipartisan legislation that would help dislocated workers train for high-tech jobs in their region. Due to new jobs and retirement, a recent report found that between 2008 and 2018 Ohio will create 967,000 job openings requiring postsecondary education or training. But according to Forbes, Ohio ranks tenth in the nation among states with the biggest looming skilled labor shortages. By tailoring workforce development to the needs of regional, high-growth industries, more workers could receive placements and more businesses could be attracted to a region based on a “clusters” approach. The SECTORS Act would organize stakeholders connected to a regional industry, including business and labor leaders, education and training providers, and local workforce and education system administrators, to develop plans for growing that industry. Brown’s bill also wouldn’t add to the budget because it would use existing Workforce Investment Act funds.

 3. Passing Brown’s Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, bipartisan legislation that would stand up for American manufacturers when countries like China cheat trade law by manipulating its currency. Specifically, the bill would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to U.S. manufacturers caused by currency manipulation, and provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment. A December 2012 report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics concluded that currency manipulation by foreign governments had cost the U.S. from 1 million to 5 million jobs and increased the U.S. trade deficit by $200 billion to $500 billion per year. The Economic Policy Institute found that if China was to revalue the yuan to its equilibrium level, and other Asian countries followed suit, the creation of 2.25 million American jobs could be supported. EPI also estimates that ending currency manipulation would increase Ohio’s jobs total by between nearly 95,000 and nearly 200,000; increase Ohio’s gross domestic product by between $8.26 billion and $17.41 billion; and increase Ohioans’ salaries by between $4.72 billion and $9.94 billion. 

Brown is a member of the Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee and the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years. Provisions of Brown’s Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act are included in this year’s farm bill and would help Ohio farmers and ranchers sell their products directly to consumers and creating jobs by addressing production, aggregation, and marketing and distribution needs.

In July 2013, Brown introduced the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act of 2013 with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). The SECTORS Act is currently endorsed by the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD), National Skills Coalition, National Network of Sector Partners, Ohio Workforce Commission (OWC), Policy Matters Ohio, Towards Employment, and United Way of Central Ohio.

In June 2013, Brown authored the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013 and introduced the bill with U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Burr (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Robert Casey (D-PA). The introduction came in advance of talks between President Obama and Chinese President Xi. In October 2011, the U.S. Senate passed an earlier version of Brown’s bill by a vote of 65-35.