166 House Democrats are pulling out all of the stops, including trying to keep the House in session through Christmas, as they battle the GOP’s cruel plan to harm 1.3 million unemployed Americans.
During Rep. Van Hollen’s interview with Andrea Mitchell, the conversation turned to extending unemployment benefits. Van Hollen was talking about Boehner’s habit of not allowing votes, when he said, “Let us have a vote right now on extending unemployment compensation. If Republicans want to vote no, that’s fine, but again allow us to have a vote, and the refusal to allow democracy to work its will is one of the reasons why people are so disappointed.”
Mitchell asked when Congress was leaving for the Christmas holidays through the end of the year. Van Hollen answered, “The House is currently scheduled to adjourn this Friday. Many of us are going to be opposing, we are going to vote against the adjournment resolution, to stay here, to finish the work on a lot of these issues including the most pressing one right now is the fact that unemployment compensation will expire two days after Christmas for over one million Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, are looking for jobs as we speak, and it would just be unconscionable to pack our bags, leave here, and not even allow a vote on this issue.”
Van Hollen and Rep. Sandy Levin planned to appeal to the House Rules Committee to force a vote on extending unemployment benefits, but the odds of the Republican controlled committee agreeing to this are zero.
165 House Democrats joined Rep. Levin in sending Boehner a letter urging him to bring the unemployment benefits extension to the House floor, “Even with the progress our economy has seen since the depths of the recession, there are still 1.3 million fewer jobs today than when the recession started six years ago. Additionally, approximately 4 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed, and have been looking for work for more than six months. Now is certainly not the time to further decimate vital federal assistance to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own and who must actively seek work in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. We therefore strongly urge you to immediately bring up a one-year extension of the current EUC program.
One of the main problems with the budget deal is that Democrats didn’t press for the unemployment benefits extension. Democrats are going to try to campaign against Republicans for not extending UI, but that does absolutely nothing for the 1.3 million people who are going to lose their benefits.
The only reason that this is happening is that Democrats prioritized getting a deal over helping the unemployed. Democrats knew that including an extension in this deal probably would have killed it in the House.
It is good to see that House Democrats are fighting for the unemployed, but it’s unfortunate that congressional Democrats would rather prove a point and, ‘get something done together” than stick to their principles and fight for the unemployed.
If Democrats don’t fight for the long term jobless, who will?
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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