WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez, Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-OR), and Senators Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Hillary (D-NY) Clinton this afternoon to call on Congress to extend and expand unemployment benefits before they expire in December. The following is Rep. Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“Democrats established a record of outstanding economic stewardship under President Clinton, with 22 million jobs created. Let’s be clear. Not a single Republican voted for the 1993 budget act that led to balanced budgets and helped create record surpluses.
“President Bush and the Republican Congress have presided over a recession, the loss of 3 million jobs, and a decrease in average income. The President’s weak response has been a six-point plan cobbled together from an old political agenda – what does tort reform really have to do with creating jobs?
“Democrats understand that Americans want jobs, not checks. But we also understand that when the economy has been bled dry of jobs, it might take a little longer to find one. The President’s Treasury Secretary optimistically says the administration will create 2 million jobs by the next election.
“But to keep up with population growth, the economy would have to add not two million, but seven million jobs. That doesn’t sound very encouraging to the millions of out-of-work Americans.
“Unemployment benefits are a bridge that helps workers get from one job to the next. And right now that bridge needs to be a little longer and a little stronger.”