LoBiondo uses Pleasantville stop to call for unemployment benefits extension

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Calling on his fellow members in the House of Representatives to “ease the agony” of the long-term unemployed, U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-02) pledged to lead a crusade for lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits./R.J. Liberatore Jr. Calling on his fellow members in the House of Representatives to “ease the agony” of the long-term unemployed, U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-02) pledged to lead a crusade for lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits./R.J. Liberatore Jr. PLEASANTVILLE - Calling on his fellow members in the House of Representatives to “ease the agony” of the long-term unemployed, U.S. Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-02) pledged to lead a crusade for lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits.

LoBiondo made his comments during a brief 15-minute press conference held at 2 p.m., Monday, April 14 outside the One-Stop Career Center on Main Street in Pleasantville.

“It’s a national problem,” LoBiondo said. “My heart breaks when I hear the stories of desperate people who are out of hope.”

LoBiondo said the official unemployment rates are 16 percent in Cape May County, 13 percent in Atlantic County and 12-13 percent in Cumberland County.

Lobiondo’s district includes all of Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties along with portions of Camden, Gloucester, Burlington and Ocean counties.

“But the actually number of unemployed is at least a few percent higher,” he said.

Recently, the Senate passed a bipartisan deal to extend unemployment benefits, Lobiondo said.

He joined a group of Republic representatives pushing for immediate consideration of similar legislation by the full House of Representatives. The group includes: Jon Runyan (NJ-03), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chris Gibson (NY-19), Michael Grimm (NY-11), Peter King (NY-02) and Joe Heck (NV-03).

“As you know, emergency unemployment benefits expired in December, immediately leaving approximately 1.3 million Americans without benefits.  Since then, many more people have lost benefits each week, bringing the number of long-term unemployed Americans without government assistance to greater than two million,” LoBiondo said in a recent letter to congressional leaders.

LoBiondo would like to see a similar bill passed in the House of Representatives that would extend those benefits by five months.

“We can not lose sight of the people who are really desperate,” he said.

Cape May County resident Chris Congleton, 52, is one of those people, he said.

Congelton has been unemployed since March 12, 2013 and has been unable to make a mortgage payment since December.

“You have to go three full months before they can begin to foreclose on your home,” she said. “We are coming up on three months.”

Congelton had served as a waitress for more than 20 years when an ankle injury forced her to change careers.

“However, 52 is not a good age to change jobs,” she said. “Now we wait.”


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