Top House Democrats, including Leader Nancy Pelosi were supposed to be holding a Steering and Policy Committee hearing on the Republican refusal to extend unemployment benefits, but Republicans kicked Democrats out of their scheduled room.
House Democrats had to abruptly turn their hearing into a press conference, when Republicans refused to let them have a room to hold the hearing in.
According to a statement from Rep. Pelosi’s office, “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Members of the House Democratic Caucus will hold a press conference today in the wake of House Republicans’ refusal to allow the stories of Americans severely affected by the loss of this vital lifeline to be heard. Leader Pelosi and House Democrats will call on Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership to end their callous indifference to the nearly 3 million individuals who have lost UI since the program expired on December 28 and to #RenewUI this critical lifeline.”
What happened was that Democrats had a hearing room scheduled, and at the last minute, Republicans told them that they couldn’t use it.
There is no limit to how low House Republicans will go to prevent the message that they are hurting 3 million Americans by refusing to extend emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Boehner and company will grant endless hours of time and as many rooms as needed for Benghazi, IRS, or any other number of conspiracy based hearings, but Democrats can’t even get a room for a couple of hours to talk about the plight of 3 million Americans who have been pushed into dire poverty because Republicans refuse to extend unemployment benefits.
House Republicans may hold the majority, but they don’t own the building. Those hearing rooms belong to the taxpayers. Republicans have the right as the majority to control the scheduling, but their behavior is a slap in the face to the democratic process.
The American people want unemployment benefits extended. Every poll taken since before the benefits expired has shown that large majorities support extending the benefits. House Republicans are not only trying to silence Democrats. They are also trying to silence the American people.
John Boehner likes to refer to the House as “The People’s House,” but today the people were denied a voice, and the needs are being ignored by a Republican majority that cares more about the Koch brothers than the millions of American lives they are destroying.