Lieberman Calls for Second Extension of Unemplyoment Benefits for 2005 Hurricane Victims

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Thursday called for a second 13-week extension of disaster unemployment benefits for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Lieberman is co-sponsoring legislation with Senators Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to extend benefits for Katrina victims until September 1 and for Rita victims until September 23. Benefits are due to expire June 3 and June 24, respectively for a total of 83,514 families.

“This legislation recognizes the extreme suffering of the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and attempts to make sure federal aid is equivalent to the magnitude of the disaster they have suffered,” Lieberman said. “A second extension of unemployment benefits will help families whose lives have been upended through no fault of their own. I sincerely believe this extension will help these families get back on their feet.”

The Gulf Coast families affected by hurricanes continue to face major hurdles in finding permanent housing and new jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently reported that 15 percent of Hurricane Katrina victims remained unemployed in April, and 26 percent of those families unable to return back to their homes are still unemployed. “The unemployment that continues to burden so many families is a grave reminder of how far we are from realizing our promise of hope to the proud people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast,” Lieberman said.