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Governor Rell Thanks Senator Dodd for Support on UI Extension, Renews Call for Congressional Action

For immediate release
December 1, 2010
Contact:
Rich Harris, 860-524-7313 / rich.harris@ct.gov

Governor M. Jodi Rell today thanked U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd for his strong support of a proposal now pending in Congress that would extend federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for millions of jobless Americans through the end of December 2011. 

Senator Dodd (D-Connecticut) was among 29 Senators to write Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus urging them to take immediate action on the extension. Because Congress has not yet acted, benefits for 2 million people nationwide began expiring today; as many as 1 million more people will lose their benefits every month thereafter. 

“For months, I have been urging Congress to act on this issue and I appreciate Senator Dodd’s joining me in this call to action,” Governor Rell said. “As the global recession has taken a terrible toll on the hard-working families of Connecticut, these UI benefits have, for many, been little short of a lifesaver. To see this vital support suddenly removed – especially around the holidays – is a devastating blow. 

“Even with the federal support received to date, Connecticut and other states have completely exhausted their ability to provide UI benefits on their own,” the Governor said. “Our economy is showing some faint signs of recovery. Yet far too many would-be breadwinners continue to look for jobs and rely on these benefits to keep their families going while their search continues. 

“I understand the concerns that many in Congress have expressed about continuing to fund these benefits through deficit spending,” Governor Rell said. “However, I must point out again that for far too many families – here in Connecticut and around the nation – these benefits may be all that stands between their continued survival and utter destitution. Moreover, these benefits have an economic ripple effect that cannot be discounted. The money that families receive is spent on groceries, gasoline and other essentials, keeping local businesses active and preventing other people from slipping into unemployment.

“Like Senator Dodd, I urge Congress in the strongest possible terms to extend these benefits through the end of next year,” the Governor said. “All of us hope that the economic recovery will continue and accelerate. Now, however, is not the time to leave millions of people – including thousands of Connecticut families – without the means to keep their families together while they continue the search for gainful employment.”


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