Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, during this Season of Giving, when our nation should be reflecting on the need of friends and neighbors who are out of work and struggling to provide for their loved ones, this chamber will vote today to cut unemployment benefits for one million of our fellow Americans.
The House Majority's bill, H.R. 3630, 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 to 59 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.
I am strongly opposed to any reduction in emergency unemployment insurance.
This Congress cannot and must not adjourn for the holidays and go home to tell our unemployed neighbors that the richest country on earth cannot find a place in their heart to help them in their time of need.
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I am not able to support H.R. 3630 even though I am a strong supporter of moving the Keystone XL Project along and would support the language included in this bill if considered separately.
The Keystone XL project makes both energy and economic sense for our country, and I hope that the Administration could find a way to allow for construction to commence in some of the states while simultaneously revisiting the route in Nebraska.
I urge my colleagues to stand in support of the millions of our fellow Americans struggling to find work and to oppose this legislation.