Transcript: Remarks by Sen. Jack Reed on the Senate bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits for 3 months

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) on S. 1845, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act. The press briefing was held on Jan. 7, 2014:

…There’s still a great deal of work to be done but we have literally changed this debate. Just a few weeks ago, there were colleagues who were talking about unemployment insurance as a disservice to the American worker. Today, we’re talking about the vital nature of this program and also the need to extend it. Now, we’re also talking about should it be paid for in the long-term, are there other changes that could be made. We made several changes in 2012. And so we’re moving forth. We have to collaborate. We have to be constructive.

But today, I think we’ve given a bit of hope to millions of Americans who are struggling in a difficult economy to find jobs, who are struggling to provide sustenance to their families, to pay their heating bills, put some gas in the car, and to keep looking for work.

We also understand that this is just providing the immediate assistance people need. The longer-term is to create the jobs, to build the economy where these programs are not as necessary as they are today.

I certainly – this was a work of great effort that was collaborative and I’m pleased with my colleagues today who played such a critical role – Sen. [Jeanne] Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Sen. [Sherrod] Brown (D-Ohio), Sen. [Jeff] Merkley (D-Oregon), and Sen. [Chuck] Schumer (D-New York). Without them, this would not have happened…

I have to personally thank Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. He stood up, responding to his constituents and to what he was seeing in his home state and across the country, and he provided great leadership. He did it with thoughtful, persistent advocacy. And we’re here today because in large part of his efforts and all my colleagues – all my Democratic colleagues but also my Republican colleagues who stepped forward and said let’s put the rhetoric aside for a moment and try to help people and then do it in a constructive, collaborative way…

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