Skip to comments.[Hillary] Clinton Upset Over Senate's Failure to Extend Unemployment Benefits
Posted on 05/11/2004 10:45:53 PM PDT by upchuck
[FREEPER NOTE: The RATS lost by one vote. sKerry was in Kentucky campaiging.]
Washington, DC - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed her deep disappointment over the Senate vote today, opposing an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. The vote was 59 to 40. In her statement prior to the vote, Senator Clinton pointed out that it would only take a few words from President Bush to turn the tide in favor of providing assistance to the 1.5 million Americans who have lost their benefits since January of this year. "I call on President Bush to show strong leadership on this issue and do the right thing for our workers and for the economy by pushing more members of his party to support this measure," Senator Clinton said.
"I am deeply disappointed that once again the Senate Republican leadership has chosen to play politics with America's unemployed. The Senate amendment would have provided critical unemployment benefits for those New Yorkers and Americans who are down on their luck and out of work the ones who need it the most," Senator Clinton said.
Senator Clinton was a co-sponsor of an amendment to the Senate Jobs Bill which would have extended unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks.
Since September 11 2001, Senator Clinton has been fighting to extend unemployment benefits. She championed the successful effort to extend unemployment benefits in January of 2003. Senator Clinton was a co-sponsor of a bipartisan amendment to the Jobs bill under consideration in the Senate. The most recent extension of unemployment benefits expired on March 30. Almost 130,000 New Yorkers exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits between December and April. During the recession in the 1990's, Congress extended unemployment insurance five times; during this downturn, Congress has extended benefits only 3 times.
[A copy of Senator Clinton's floor statement I attached]
I rise today in strong support of the Cantwell-Voinovich amendment because it is the right thing to do for America's workers and the right thing to do for our economy. Although I am pleased that we are finally voting on this critical amendment, it saddens me that we are still talking about this issue. As many in this chamber may remember I worked with my colleagues Senator Fitzgerald and Senator Nickles to craft an unemployment insurance extension as the first legislation passed by the 108th Congress. That was back in January of 2003. Now, I find myself feeling like its Groundhog Day.
A year and five months have gone by and times are still tough for the 8.2 million Americans who are out of work. Little over a month ago, on March 30th, tens of thousands of Americans lost their unemployment benefits because the government's temporary extension of unemployment insurance expired. Every week, 85,000 workers have been running out of benefits and 1.5 million have lost their benefits since January. Since President Bush took office, our country has lost over 2 million jobs.
I represent a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In March, New York State's unemployment rate was 6.5 percent. In New York City alone, unemployment has hovered around 8 percent since September 11th 2001. And, according to the Department of Labor, if New York City were a state, it would have the highest unemployment rate in the entire country. Almost 130,000 New Yorkers exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits between December of last year and today, none of whom qualified for federal benefits.
Action to help New Yorkersand all Americanswho are out of work is long overdue. That's why I am proud to co-sponsor the Cantwell-Voinovich amendment. This amendment is virtually identical to a bill that I introduced with Senator Gordon Smith in November of last year. The Cantwell-Voinovich legislation will do what my bill with Senator Smith would have done: it will reinstate the federal unemployment insurance program and provide every unemployed worker with an additional 13 weeks of benefits.
Ignoring the unemployed will not make them go away. In fact today, despite Congress' inaction on this issue, long-term unemployment is at the highest level in recorded history. More than two million Americans have been out of work for six months or more, a higher percentage than ever before. According to the Children's Defense Fund, this represents an increase of 245 percent in the past two years alone and if the past is any indication of the future, many of these jobs will never return. In past recessions, 50 percent of job loss is temporary; the other half is permanent. Economists estimate that today nearly 80 percent of job loss is permanent.
Permanent job loss isn't just a theoretical term. It's a father with a mortgage, a mother with car payments, and a young person with college loans. We must never loose sight of that simple fact. While everyone wants to collect a paycheck, unemployment checks provide certainty in an economy that is anything but certain.
For months, Administration officials have claimed that their tax package will grow the economy and create jobs. But the only thing it is certain to grow is our nation's mounting debt. The last time their economic policies were enacted, Americans lost 2 million jobs. We cannot wait to see how this debate plays out while 10 million unemployed Americans struggle. They paid into this systemsome for decadesand now, when they need those benefits the most, we should provide them.
It's long past time that we take care of unemployed workers in this country. We simply cannot keep repeating the past and let down American workers in these vulnerable and uncertain times. After all, Groundhog Day was officially February 2nd. And like the more 600,000 unemployed New Yorkers, I'm ready to put it behind me.
The Senate by a single vote rejected an election-year effort Tuesday to extend federal unemployment benefits.Link ^.
Democrats tried to attach the benefit to a corporate tax bill. On a 59-40 vote in the GOP-controlled Senate, they fell just shy of the 60 votes needed to overcome objections that extending the benefits violated last year's budget agreement.
Massachusetts Sen . John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was the only senator who missed the vote. Kerry was campaigning Tuesday in Kentucky.
The amendment would have offered emergency federal unemployment benefits for six months, temporarily giving 13 weeks of extra assistance to people who exhaust their state benefits -- typically 26 weeks.
I'm laughing my ass off on this one. Maybe The Hildabeaste should beat up on sKerry instead of President Bush :)
LOL... Be sure to read post #1.
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my infrequent miscellaneous ping list.
Also LMAO BUMP.
The damnocrats can't ever seem to get it right, can they?
Seems to me they weren't playing, they were working. Kerry, on the other hand, was showing America's unemployed how to get paid for one job while out interviewing for another.
Oh just shut up and go away.
those slackers & malcontents should get a job. And Hillary, you need to pipe down.
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