Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Votes To Extend Unemployment Benefits

September 23, 2009

Contact:  Jake Rubin
(202) 225-5665


(WASHINGTON, DC)  Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. is working hard for those most in need while taking action to put our economy on the road to recovery.  Kagen voted for the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 which will help workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own buy necessities for their families.

“This legislation will help those hardest hit by our economic downturn without adding to the deficit,” said Kagen.  “I am working hard to make sure that Wisconsin’s families are protected as we take action to put our economy on the road to recovery.”

The legislation would extend unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks for over 300,000 jobless workers who reside in high unemployment states and who are projected to run out of unemployment compensation by the end of September.  The bill will also cover the over one million workers otherwise exhausting benefits before the end of the year.  The bill is deficit neutral.

“In order to turn our economy around we must take the necessary steps to drive down costs for health care while increasing access to care for all of us; reduce our dependence on foreign oil; and reform our education system so all of our students can compete in the 21st century.  We put together a plan to address these needs at the beginning of this year and one-by-one we have addressed these goals.  Everyone understands these actions will take time to succeed, but we are moving in the right direction,” said Kagen.

Last week, Kagen joined Rep. Tom Petri in voting for the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act which will make college more accessible by transforming the way our student loan programs operate. 

Wisconsin is eligible for Tier 3 benefits which are extended to states with equal to or higher than 8.5% unemployment.  This includes 25 States plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  That means an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits   Some workers are beginning to exhaust the 79 weeks of benefits currently available.  Giving these funds directly to people to spend on immediate needs and make mortgage payments will increase consumer demand and reduce foreclosures.

The Recovery Act included a temporary suspension of federal income tax on the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits per recipient and increased unemployment weekly benefits by an additional $25 through 2009.

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