Today, the Department of Labor reported that the economy added 146,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in November. With 147,000 jobs added by private businesses, this marks the 33rd consecutive month of private sector job growth. As the private sector continues to create jobs, we must work together in Congress to ensure that our economy continues to grow and that we restore certainty and security for the middle class and small businesses.
House Republicans can do their part now by joining Democrats to extend the middle class tax cuts without further delay. With Republicans refusing to take up the Senate-passed tax relief bill, House Democrats have filed a discharge petition to force a vote on this legislation, so we can put over $2,000 into the pockets of the average family of four during the holiday season and the New Year. There is no time to waste. We must come together to pass the middle income tax cuts and reach a balanced, bold, and responsible agreement that creates jobs, grows the economy, and reduces our deficit, while ensuring that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.
A Deep Blow to Disability Rights
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked the passage of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. The historic legislation recognized, and made the law of the land, the simple premise that every American has the right to live independently and to fully participate in all aspects of our society -- including our schools, our businesses, and our communities. The treaty put before the Senate this week captured the sentiments of the Americans with Disabilities Act, especially with regards to the respect and recognition of the needs of people with special needs. The refusal by Senate Republicans to pass the bill marked a deep blow to our veterans, individuals with special needs, and the families of children with special needs. Their actions marked one of the saddest days ever in the U.S. Senate.
Fighting to End HIV/AIDS
On Saturday, World AIDS Day, I was honored to receive the National Leadership Award from the National AIDS Memorial Grove. The AIDS Memorial Grove, located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, is the nation's first living memorial to the thousands of Americans who have died of AIDS and in support of the thousands living with HIV. For over 21 years, the Grove has been a place for remembrance and renewal. In San Francisco, ground zero for the AIDS assault, we know how to turn heartache into hope and that is the significance of the Grove. On the 19th annual World AIDS Day, we are on the brink of an AIDS-free generation. That is why we must carry on with determination, hope, and courage until the day that the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a terrible memory.
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