Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today released the following statement in response to the Senate's successful cloture vote paving the way for extension of unemployment insurance following a month of Republican obstruction and delay tactics.
"This vote was long overdue for laid-off workers hanging on by their fingernails. It shouldn't have taken six weeks to get here and two and a half million workers should never have gone this long without unemployment insurance. It took herculean legislative skill by Harry Reid to finally break the logjam and clear the way for passage.
"We've got to change this atmosphere in Washington. It's destructive, it's poisonous, and it's lousy for the middle class Americans who bore the brunt of the Wall Street meltdown and future generations which are on the hook for the national debt piled up the last decade. I've cast tough votes to tackle deficits and balance the federal budget, and I'm confident we won't hear the same cries of fiscal austerity next week from the Minority Leader when he will urge his caucus to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at a cost of trillions to the national debt. We'll never fix our economy and address America's long term economic footing if we don't insist on an honest debate and a real dialogue about these issues."
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired at the end of May 2010. Today's vote extends this program retroactively through November 2010. Approximately, 90,000 claimants in Massachusetts were due to exhaust benefits without this extension. This is the seventh time Senate Republicans have voted nearly unanimously against this extension.
The bill also includes a provision that will give states the option to address the current glitch in the unemployment system which penalizes workers who try to improve their economic situation by working part-time.