Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon urging House Republicans to allow a vote on renewing emergency unemployment insurance, which expired for 1.3 million Americans on December 28. With a vote of 226-191, House Republicans blocked consideration of this legislation. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank the Gentleman for yielding. I appreciate this opportunity to comment not only upon this rule, which provides of course for mostly closed rules, no amendments, no ability to change or modify, particularly two bills that had no hearings, went to no committees and were reported out – doing stuff that we did for 2013 almost without exception. But what I really rise to say is that I want to urge every Member to vote against the previous question.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, I know the American public will hear ‘previous question.’ What does that mean? The previous question, if defeated, will give us the opportunity to put on this Floor what the overwhelming majority of American people want on this Floor, which I understand the Gentleman from Michigan, as I just was walking in, I think he was talking about. And that is to deal with the most pressing issue confronting this country right now, today. And that is we have 1.3 million Americans who have simply been dropped through whatever safety net we thought we had constructed.
“Now, so, Mr. Speaker, the American public understands the previous question will give us the opportunity, if it's defeated, to put that legislation on the Floor now, to extend for those 1.3 million people the help of the American people who want to do it. In every poll they say, no, we ought to have this help. And when George W. Bush was President of the United States, five times we extended unemployment insurance for long-term unemployed – five times - without paying for it. If the previous question is defeated – and make no mistake about it, the vote on the previous question is whether or not you want to give long-term unemployed who have lost their insurance and are having trouble putting food on their tables, if you want to give them help – you will vote no on the previous question.
“Don't hide behind a procedural issue. This is a substantive issue. This is an issue of whether we're going to give help now. So the American public that's for this ought to be looking at it, and every Member who votes yes on the previous question is voting not, not to give help to those folks: 1.3 million of them, 20,000 veterans who can't find a job, and there's only one job available for every three people that are looking for a job. That's why George W. Bush extended unemployment [insurance]. That's why we ought to do it. And we can do it. We have the ability to do it.
"Vote no on the previous question. It is a substantive vote on whether or not you want to help the long-term unemployed who have lost as of December 28 – three days after Christmas, the season of giving and caring – whether you want to give them the unemployment insurance that they count on to feed themselves and their families and have their heads above water, and I yield back the balance of my time.”