[Bleeding Heartland Logo]

Bleeding Heartland is a community blog about Iowa politics: campaigns and elections, state government, social and environmental issues. Bleeding Heartland also weighs in on presidential policies and campaigns, federal legislation and what the Iowans in Congress are up to. Join our community, post your thoughts as comments or diaries, help keep our leaders honest and hold them accountable.
- desmoinesdem
- Iowa 2012 election coverage
- Who's who in the Iowa House for 2015
- Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2015
- Iowa wildflowers
2014 Election Coverage
- Absentee ballot numbers
- IA-Sen
- IA-Gov
- IA-01
- IA-02
- IA-03
- IA-04
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of State
- State Auditor
- Iowa Senate overview
- Iowa House overview
- Senate district 5
- Senate district 7
- Senate district 9
- Senate district 12
- Senate district 13
- Senate district 15
- Senate district 17
- Senate district 27
- Senate district 29
- Senate district 39
- Senate district 41
- Senate district 47
- Senate district 49
- House district 8
- House district 15
- House district 25
- House district 26
- House district 28
- House district 30
- House district 33 (2013)
- House district 40
- House district 51
- House district 60
- House district 63
- House district 65
- House district 68
- House district 73
- House district 82
- House district 91
- House district 92
- House district 95
- House district 99

Advanced Search

Paid Advertising

Bleeding Heartland
It's what plants crave.

Iowans split as U.S. House votes to extend unemployment benefits

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 14:56:11 PM CDT

On Tuesday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009, which "would extend unemployment insurance benefits by 13 weeks in states that have jobless rates above 8.5 percent." 27 states and the District of Columbia have unemployment rates exceeding that level.

The bill easily passed by a vote of 331 to 83, but as you can see from the roll call, Iowa's House delegation was divided in an unusual way. Representatives Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03) were among the 17 Democrats who voted against the bill. They opposed it because unemployed Iowans would be ineligible for the extended benefits. Although our state has the eighth-lowest unemployment rate in the country, we also have pockets of higher unemployment, especially in rural areas.

After the jump I've posted statements released by Braley and Boswell on this bill. Boswell noted that four counties in the third Congressional districts have unemployment rates above 9 percent. Braley noted, "When you're unemployed, it doesn't matter to you what your state's unemployment rate is.  What matters is that you need to support your family."

Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02) did not vote yesterday, because he was meeting with Fema Administrator Craig Fugate and various state and local officials in Cedar Rapids to discuss flood recovery efforts. I contacted his office for comment on the unemployment bill. His spokesperson Sabrina Siddiqui told me that Loebsack had serious concerns about the way Iowans were excluded from the extended unemployment benefits, adding that Loebsack is working with House leaders to address the needs of unemployed Iowans in future legislation.

Extending unemployment benefits during a severe recession is good policy, not only to help struggling families, but because spending on unemployment benefits has a very high economic stimulus "bang for the buck." That said, it's unfair to penalize unemployed Iowans for the fact that our state is faring better than many others on the jobs front.

Iowa's Republicans in the U.S. House were also divided on this bill, with Tom Latham (IA-04) voting yes and Steve King (IA-05) voting no.

desmoinesdem :: Iowans split as U.S. House votes to extend unemployment benefits
Statement from Bruce Braley's office on September 22:

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today broke with his party to oppose the Unemployment Compensation Act (H.R. 3548) because the legislation would exclude unemployed Iowa workers from receiving a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits.  The bill passed the House 331-83.

HR 3548 extends unemployment benefits to unemployed workers by 13 weeks, but only in states with unemployment rates of 8.5 percent or higher. At 6.8 percent, Iowa's unemployment rate falls well below the bill's requirement, despite the fact that 19 Iowa counties have unemployment rates higher than 8.5 percent.  These high-unemployment counties tend to be located in rural areas of the state.

"When you're unemployed, it doesn't matter to you what your state's unemployment rate is.  What matters is that you need to support your family," said Braley.  "Extending unemployment benefits is important to help people in this recession, but rural Iowans suffer from much higher unemployment than the Iowa average.  I opposed this bill because it's unfair to deny assistance to people just because they happen to live in rural areas."

For more information on the Unemployment Compensation Act, visit http://www.waysandmeans.house....

Statement from Leonard Boswell's office on September 22:

Boswell Releases Statement on the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009
Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Leonard Boswell released the following statement on the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009, which passed the House by a vote of 331-83.
"I understand the hardships of the families and individuals who have lost their jobs in those states with an unemployment rate above 8.5 percent. I hear their struggles echoed in the stories of my own unemployed constituents in the 3rd Congressional District of Iowa. The entire country has felt the impact of near-economic collapse."
"It is for this reason that I cannot support a bill that does not view unemployment as a shared hurt. Iowa has an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, but four counties in my District have an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent and climbing. Any legislation that extends unemployment benefits must be applied equally."
Iowa Workforce Development reported unemployment rates in the 3rd Congressional District as of August 2009 as follows:
-          Mahaska County, 10.9 percent
-          Marion County, 9.6 percent
-          Monroe County, 9.5 percent
-          Jasper County, 9.2 percent
-          Keokuk County, 8 percent
-          Poweshiek County, 7.2 percent
-          Tama County, 6.8 percent
-          Lucas County, 6.5 percent
-          Polk County, 6.2 percent
-          Benton County, 6 percent
-          Iowa County, 5.9 percent
-          Grundy County, 5.6 percent
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email
Tweet This!


Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

Iowa Liberal Blogs
- Blog For Iowa
- Iowa .Gif-t Shop
- Iowa Independent (archive)
- Iowa Policy Points
- Iowa Starting Line
- Iowans for a Future That Doesn't Suck
- John Deeth
Iowa Conservative Blogs
- Hawkeye GOP
- The Bean Walker
- Caffeinated Thoughts
- The Conservative Reader: Iowa
- The Iowa Republican
Journalists' blogs and research
- 24-Hour Dorman
- Cedar Rapids Gazette government page
- Iowa Fiscal Partnership
- Iowa Policy Project
- Iowa Politics Insider
- Iowa Watchdog.org
- On Brief: Iowa's Appellate Blog
- On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts
- Politically Speaking
- Price of Politics, etc.
- O.Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa
Iowa Democrats
- Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
- Iowa Democratic Party
- Iowa House Democrats
- Iowa Senate Democrats

Powered by: SoapBlox