WTVM’s Cheryl Renee interviews U.S. Secretary of Labor

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Extended interview with U.S. Secretary of Labor

(WTVM) - More than 60,000 people in Georgia are hurting financially since their emergency unemployment benefits expired January 1.

Emergency unemployment compensation is a federally-funded program that provides benefits to those who've exhausted state benefits.

To date, Congress has not passed an extension.

WTVM's Cheryl Renee spoke with U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez on Friday about this.

"Congress has failed to reach a deal on this so where do you go from here?" we asked.

"We're continuing to work in a bi-partisan fashion," Perez responded. "The reason it's called emergency unemployment compensation is because people are in an emergency situation and with the cut-off at the end of last month there were 1.3 million people affected, now tomorrow that goes up to 1.6 million including over 63,000 residents in Georgia. So this touches every community and we need to help these people who are remarkably compelling. I've met many of them and they're looking every single day for a job. They get very aggravated when people suggest that they're unemployed by choice. That couldn't be further from the truth."

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