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Camp and Reichert Review “Temporary” Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program

June 26, 2013

Washington, DC –  June 30, 2013 marks the fifth anniversary of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, the current “temporary” Federal unemployment benefits program created in June 2008 under the Supplemental Appropriations Act, P.L. 110-252.  As that anniversary approaches, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) today released a review of data summarizing the impact of the program over its 5-year history.   As the data indicates, the EUC program, which when combined with state benefits has cost taxpayers more than $600 billion since 2008, has fallen far short of Americans’ expectations.  

Key data points include:

  • Record weeks of unemployment benefits;
  • Record length of a “temporary” Federal UI program;
  • Record numbers of long-term unemployed;
  • Record spending on State and Federal UI benefits; and
  • Empty promises of UI benefits stimulating a robust economy.

Discussing the “temporary” UI program, Chairman Camp said, “As the name of this program suggests, it is meant to be temporary.  The American people want, and expect, this program to actually help the unemployed get back to work and once again collecting permanent paychecks.  This data reinforces that the program has not achieved those goals and that we have much more work to do if we hope to make the overall unemployment program one that puts workers on a path to paychecks instead of benefit checks.”

Chairman Reichert stated, “The nation’s UI program has helped millions of families temporarily make ends meet by providing weekly unemployment checks.  That is critical in times of need, but as is the case with any taxpayer-funded program, Congress has a responsibility to evaluate the program to determine both whether it is meeting its intended purpose as well as whether there is a more efficient and effective way to achieve the program’s goals.  As this data suggests, this program has spent a lot but has not yielded the results that were promised.”

Link to the 5-year review here.