WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed a Democratic amendment to the “Improving the Community Services Block Grant Act” (H.R. 3030) to authorize funding for a six-month extension of unemployment benefits. The amendment passed 227 to 179, with 39 Republicans voting for it:
“Today, a large bipartisan majority – 188 Democrats and 39 Republicans – expressed the will of the House in passing a Democratic amendment to authorize funding for a six-month extension of unemployment benefits. The Republican leadership should stop putting politics above compassion and allow the Members of this body to vote on legislation that would immediately fund an extension of temporary jobless benefits.
“Over Democratic opposition, the Republican Party permitted the federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation Program (TEUC) to expire on December 21. That was a heartless act with a political motivation. After promising the American people over and over that their economic policies would create jobs, Republicans just cannot drag themselves to admit that those policies are an abysmal failure.
“Nearly 9 million Americans are unemployed today. Another 5 million are working part time but would rather be working full time. And 2 million Americans have been jobless for 26 weeks or more, the highest level of long-term unemployment since 1984.
“In fact, since the Republican Party allowed the TEUC program to expire on December 21, an estimated 500,000 Americans have been left high and dry. These Americans are receiving no paycheck or no unemployment check.
“It’s time that Republicans stop pretending that their policies are working and start facing reality – millions of jobless Americans are hurting. Cheerleading and wishful thinking will not pay the mortgage or feed the kids. Democrats will continue to fight to extend federal unemployment benefits for jobless Americans until there is real evidence that our economy is actually creating jobs.”