Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference this afternoon on the need for House Republican leaders to take up the Senate-passed bill to renew emergency unemployment insurance. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
“Thank you very much for being here. I first of all want to start by thanking Sandy Levin. Congressman Levin is from Michigan and he’s the Ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. Otherwise known as the guy who’s got all the fans in the audience. That’s terrific.
"Today over 2.8 million Americans are hearing from Republicans in the Congress of the United States: ‘you are on your own.’ That’s not what America is about. That’s not what’s made America great.
“We believe that we want to care about our neighbors. We want to care about our fellow citizens. We want to care about Americans who find themselves, through no fault of their own, in distress.
“The United States Senate has responded to the plight of those Americans who find themselves unemployed and unable, although they are looking, to find a job. And so they passed an extension of unemployment insurance. Not only will it extend it, but it will pay for the months that they weren’t able to find a job so they can pay for some of the bills they’ve incurred, as a result of the unemployment insurance lapsing, being taken away in fact.
“We are here to urge the Republicans, particularly Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor, the Republican leaders, to put the unemployment insurance bill that the Senate has passed on the Floor. Give those Americans, 2.8 million, the opportunity to see who stands with them and who does not stand with them.
“There are over 200,000 veterans among the number of unemployed who have been unable to get a job. Two hundred thousand people who wore the uniform of the United States of America and pledged to defend this country. It’s now time for us to help defend them, in a time of need.
“So I am pleased to join my colleagues as I stand here, asking John Boehner for a vote. Asking Eric Cantor: put this bill on the Floor before we go home for two weeks and another 140,000 plus Americans lose their unemployment insurance.
“It is past time to act, but it is never too late to do the right thing. Let us do the right thing. Let us pass this bill. And now, Sandy Levin of Michigan.”