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Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening in support of Congressman Michaud's motion to instruct conferees.
Every single one of us in this Chamber woke up this morning and came to work. We're lucky to have jobs, jobs that are a source of dignity and self-fulfillment. But, Mr. Speaker, 13 million Americans woke up this morning with no jobs to go to, with no salaries to help support their families. These 13 million Americans are jobless, not because there is something wrong with them, but because something is wrong with the U.S. economy and with the policies designed to keep 1 percent of the population comfortable at the expense of the remaining 99 percent. The recession happened to the American people. They didn't bring it on themselves.
My colleagues on the other side of the aisle see it differently. Instead of willingly extending jobless Americans the hand up they're entitled to, the majority insists on punishing jobless Americans for their predicament. They want to manipulate the unemployment insurance program that everyone pays into, that everyone deserves to access when they fall on hard times. They want to give States the permission to use unemployment insurance funds for something other than unemployment insurance.
How convenient. I'd like to propose that we use war spending for something other than war spending.
States already have plenty of flexibility in designing their unemployment insurance systems, so this Republican proposal just appears to be an attempt to divert money away from unemployment, to erect more barriers to accessing these benefits at the very moment they're needed the most.
Here is an idea: Instead of undermining jobless benefits, why doesn't the Republican majority put its energy into a real strategy to create jobs for these unemployed workers.
This morning in the Education and the Workforce Committee, we heard from a Republican Governor who spoke positively about the imperative of job creation and of the importance of Federal investments in infrastructure, workforce and career training.
I hope my friends in the majority will listen to this fellow Republican. I hope they will stop playing games with unemployment insurance. I hope they will remove this provision that allows States to take the unemployment insurance money away from unemployed peoples and, instead, pass a big, bold jobs plan. That will remove workers from the unemployment ranks.
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