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

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

It’s 8 degrees below 0 in Cleveland today. It seems like it’s almost that cold here. And I think this vote today – this bipartisan vote – with particular thanks to Sen. Reed and Sen. Heller – on this bipartisan vote will help those people who have lost jobs heat their homes, will help them go to the grocery store and buy food, will help them fix their car at the local car mechanic so they can drive and look for work.

This is all about social insurance. It’s unemployment insurance. People pay into this when they’re working and when they’ve lost their jobs, it’s important that they get those benefits. And no one gets these benefits without looking for jobs day after day after day, and that’s why this is so important.

It’s also important that we’ve got a bipartisan vote out of the Senate. I think that means good news for a minimum wage increase down the road, sooner rather than later. The last time we did minimum wage was 2007. Strong bipartisan vote in both Houses, signed by President Bush, signed by the President of the United States. We hope to replicate that kind of effort in 2014.

It’s also good news on all the kinds of manufacturing, job growth issues that we are working on bipartisanly. I just came from a meeting earlier with a manufacturing caucus – a group of members in the Senate from both parties who care about job creation, who care about manufacturing.

Last point I’d like to briefly make is – Sen. Shaheen just mentioned about how this is good for the economy. 100 years ago this week, Henry Ford announced he was going to pay his workers $5 a day. That was the person sweeping the floor. That was the person building the Model T. What Henry Ford understood is what 60 members of the Senate understood today and that is when you put money in people’s pockets, they spend it and it grows the economy. Maybe to buy a Model T in his day, 100 years ago. But today, it means they spend that money locally in grocery stores, the car mechanic, and at the hardware store, buying clothes for their kids, keeping them going, keeping them alive – what it means to the 52,000 people in Ohio that saw their unemployment expire at the end of last year and what it means to our economy as a whole.

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