When an unemployed veteran asked Mitch McConnell’s spokesperson what she is supposed to do to now that McConnell has blocked extending unemployment benefits, the senator’s spokesman replied,’I have no control over your life.’
MSNBC’s Steve Benen (of the Maddow Blog) wrote that an unemployed veteran named Wessita McKinley spoke to McConnell’s spokesperson Don Stewart while delivering 60,000 petitions calling for the extension of unemployment benefits. Here was there exchange,
“I’ve served my country, honorable discharge. I’ve done my time. I’ve done everything right,” she said. “College, school, no crime, no record. Pay my taxes. Make sure my daughter went to school.”
“Did the American dream. Got her in college,” McKinley added. “And I’m sitting here struggling. I’m now ready to take a street sweeper job if they would offer it to me. So I’m asking you the million dollar question. What am I supposed to do right now to keep a roof over my head, food in my stomach, clothes on my back, car insurance paid?
Stewart, the McConnell spokesman, countered by saying Majority Leader Harry Reid has not agreed to Republican amendments and waited too long to hold votes on the issue in the first place. But McKinley wasn’t satisfied with that answer as she continued to lament about her situation.
“I can only tell you what we can do here in the Senate,” Stewart said. “I have no control over your life.”
This is the spokesman for the same Mitch McConnell who recently laughed at the unemployed while promising to vote against extending unemployment benefits during a recent radio interview. Nothing sums up the you’re on your own attitude of the Republican Party and Mitch McConnell that looking a veteran in the eye and telling her that it is her own fault that she doesn’t have a job.
Republicans don’t care if an unemployed veteran is homeless and starving. Republicans like Mitch McConnell really do believe that their years of championing the deregulation of large banks and Wall Street had absolutely nothing to do with the economic collapse that left people like Wessita McKinley and millions of others out of work and unable to find a new job.
The truth is that Mitch McConnell does control the fate of millions of Americans who have seen their unemployment benefits expire. McConnell and his Senate Republicans could agree today to extend unemployment benefits if they wanted to. The ugly reality of the situation is that they view harming millions of Americans, including thousands of veterans, as good politics.
Spokeswoman for the Alison Grimes campaign Charly Norton responded to the compassionless Republican senate leader’s office, “First Mitch McConnell laughs in the faces of over 18,000 unemployed Kentuckians, then his top spokesman ridicules a woman struggling to make ends meet – all because he refuses to extend unemployment insurance benefits. Either McConnell doesn’t understand that being the ‘Guardian of Gridlock’ hurts real people or he simply doesn’t care. No wonder more and more Kentuckians believe that he should get out of the way and let Alison Lundergan Grimes fight for the hardworking, middle-class families of the Commonwealth. Unlike Mitch McConnell, Alison will be a champion for the people of Kentucky in the United States Senate.”
Mitch McConnell and his office don’t care about the people that they are supposed to be serving. McConnell has become a stain on our political process who must be voted out of office this November. For millions of unemployed Americans, it’s time to ditch Mitch.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and 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