Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, during this season of giving, when our Nation should be reflecting on the needs of our friends and neighbors who are out of work struggling to provide for their loved ones, this Chamber yesterday voted to cut unemployment benefits for 1 million of our fellow Americans.
The House majority's bill would eliminate several tiers of benefits created under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which has provided up to 99 weeks of support for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
If this legislation becomes law, the maximum potential unemployment benefit will fall by 40 weeks. This legislation would also allow States, many of which are struggling to balance their budgets, to reduce the average weekly amount available to beneficiaries. With over 8 percent unemployment, I'm strongly opposed to any reduction in emergency unemployment insurance.
I am a proud supporter, though, of moving the XL pipeline project forward and supported it in separate legislation. The XL pipeline makes both energy and economic sense for our country, and I hope the administration will find a way to allow the construction to commence in some States while still revisiting the route in Nebraska.
I urge my colleagues to stand in support of the over 13 million Americans looking for work this holiday season and pass a clean extension of the unemployment insurance program.