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UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: Murray Disappointed Republicans Once Again Block Unemployment Insurance Extension

Feb 06 2014

Republicans block second attempt by Democrats to extend critical unemployment benefits

Unemployment insurance ran out for approximately 27,000 in Washington state on Dec. 28th, an additional 37,600 will be cut off if Congress fails to act

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked another attempt to extend critical unemployment insurance benefits for 1.7M Americans, including 27,000 in Washington state.

“Once, again, Republicans have refused to face reality and provide desperately needed help to their own unemployed constituents,” Senator Murray said after the vote. “I’m extremely disappointed in today’s vote, and I hope my Republican colleagues start listening to stories of people in their own states who don’t want a handout, and don’t want to be a burden, but now have nowhere else to turn.”

Without a renewal of federal unemployment benefits, the United States economy is expected to lose over 200,000 jobs in 2014.  Senator Murray recently shared stories of out-of-work constituents in Washington state on the Senate floor.

Senator Murray also made the following statement prior to the vote:

“This afternoon we are going to have the first of what will be many votes this year that give Senate Republican’s the chance to show whether they truly support middle class families.

“This will be a true colors vote.

“It’s a chance to see whether Republican’s actions match up with their professed support for those who have been struggling to get back into the workforce.

“Because Republicans can’t hide behind procedure any longer.

“There are no smoke screens on amendments, or pay-fors, or process that they can use to confuse the issue.

“They can’t credibly make the case that we haven’t bent over backwards at every turn to compromise with them to get this extension done.

“Just ask Jack Reed.

“So it comes down to this simple question: Do Republicans actually support the policy?

“Are they actually listening to the heartbreaking stories of their constituents who don’t want a handout, don’t want to be a burden, who have worked all their lives, but now have nowhere to turn.

“Do they actually think we shouldn’t help families who are applying for food stamps for the very first time, whose mortgage bills are months behind,  and who are still fighting to get back on the job each day.

“This is a put up or shut up moment.

“And even if Republicans don’t agree, even if they oppose helping the long-term unemployed, middle-class Americans are going to begin tuning them out anyway.

“And when in a week or a month, when they tell us on minimum wage, or equal pay, or early childhood education-- that they support the policy but have a laundry list of process demands – American families will see that for what it is: an excuse for doing nothing.  

“But if they do the right thing this afternoon and finally join us in giving these families the security they deserve than it will be a foundation to build on.

“And it may just give Americans faith that progress is possible on the middle class issues that will be front and center all year in the Senate.

“And I would just add that one other thing that will give American’s faith that Republicans are serious about helping the middle class and building on our economic recovery, is to raise the debt ceiling without ransom or drama.

“But instead of doing that they are just throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks and creating more uncertainty.

“As Fitch Ratings made clear yesterday, they are once again putting our credit rating at risk.

“It’s time for House Republicans to find their way out of this mess the same way they always do: by agreeing to raise the debt ceiling without any strings attached.”