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Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you very much for yielding.
Let me tell you something about the State of Nevada. We have the highest unemployment rate in the country--14 1/2 percent unemployed--our fellow citizens with no jobs to go to and no jobs to seek. We have the highest mortgage foreclosure rate in the country. Nevadans are suffering.
It has taken far too long for this Congress to act. Unemployment benefits are not a handout. It's not welfare. It's giving a helping hand to our fellow citizens that need it the most, to get them where they are now--which is without a job--to where they're going to be when there is an economic recovery.
The gentleman from northern Nevada had an amendment in the Rules Committee that said unobligated stimulus money should go to pay for this. How many times does he have to hear that there are no unobligated funds in the stimulus bill? For any Nevadan to condemn the stimulus bill is to ignore what's going on in the State of Nevada.
Let me tell you what the stimulus bill did for us. It put $700 billion into our education system. I'm not talking about only paying teachers and keeping them employed, I'm talking about the possibility of having to close schools. It put $500 billion into Medicaid so that poor children and poor adults aren't going to be out on the streets dying for lack of medical care. Our unemployment compensation trust fund was broke. Zero. Zippo. We were able to put money into that.
And in addition to that, the construction projects that came directly from the stimulus package--not public but private contractors bidding on these projects and then hiring construction workers, the downtown transportation center, the park-and-ride in Centennial Hills, the Boulder Highway Transportation Center, and so many more came directly from this stimulus bill.
In addition to that, we had a middle-income tax cut, we had $250 that went to every Social Security recipient, $250 went to every disabled veteran in Nevada. We welcomed this money. We needed this money. It kept us afloat.
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