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Public Statements

Extension of Unemployment Benefits

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRAYSON. My grandfather, in the 1930s, spent several years of his life, every single day, going to the dump looking for things there that he could sell, looking for things that he could take to the market and sell, because there was no other way for him to survive the 1930s and the Great Depression.

There was no unemployment insurance back then. There was no State benefits back then. There was no help for the people who had no jobs. All they could do, like my grandfather, in desperate straits, supporting a family of seven, was to go to the dump and desperately try to find something he could sell.

That, my friends, is the America that the Republicans are trying to revive. The America of desperate straits, and for them cheap labor. The America where people have nothing, hope for nothing, and are desperate to live to the next day. That is what the Republicans are trying to resurrect by blocking unemployment insurance day after day, week after week, and now month after month.

I've got news for my Republican friends. Every single person who's going to receive unemployment insurance under this bill is unemployed. Every single one of them doesn't have a job. And that's why they need this money.

Now, I know what the Republicans are thinking. They're thinking why don't they just sell some stock. If they're in really dire straits, maybe they could take some of their art collection and send it off to the auctioneer. And if they're in deep, deep trouble maybe these unemployed can sell one of their yachts. That's what the Republicans are thinking right now. But that's not the life of ordinary people, the 99 percent of America that actually has to work for a living, that doesn't just clip coupons and live off of interest and dividends like my Republican friends do.

That's why we need this bill to pass, because of the 99 percent of America that deals with reality every day, the people who will lose their homes if this bill doesn't pass, the people who will be living in their cars if this bill doesn't pass. That's why we need this to pass.

And I will say this to the Republicans who have blocked this bill now for months and kept food out of the mouths of children, I will say to them now, may God have mercy on your souls.


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