Transcript: Sen. Harry Reid’s remarks on the failure to extend unemployment benefits – Jan. 16, 2014

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) on the failure to extend unemployment insurance on Jan. 16, 2014:

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. The state of Rhode Island, the state of Nevada lead the nation in unemployment. That’s why Jack Reed, Dean Heller offered the legislation to give these people the extension they deserve.

Every week of the Republican stalling adds 73,000 more people to the long-term unemployed in America.

Our effort to get these people the benefits that this government should provide them is not over with. We’re going to continue to work on this. We’re going to continue to work on it before this President’s speech and after the State of the Union speech, we’re going to continue working on this until we get justice for these people.

And I think that it’s important that the Republicans go home during the few days we’re going to be there next week and explain to the people in their respective states – these Republicans – why they didn’t give these people the benefits because of process – because I was “mean” to them.

This is a filibuster. They’ve done everything they could to disguise what they’re doing. They even stuck in there an effort to help veterans.

We want to help those veterans. That’s why the efforts made by Mikulski and Young took care of those that are disabled veterans – those that are disabled, those that are – what’s the right word? – and the survivors. So that’s taken care of.

The 1% doesn’t start for 2 years. We’re going to take care of that. Sen. Sanders is going to introduce a bill likely today. That is not an issue.

The issue is why are they filibustering the benefits for these long-term unemployed.

They said they wanted to pay for it. So we figured out a way to pay for it. It wasn’t something we dreamed up. It was an idea that Rep. Young, Rep. Ryan had. They said that they wanted to address an issue of double-dipping. We took care of that. That wasn’t enough.

Then my Republican colleagues said they wanted amendments. We gave them 10 on each side. That’s a lot of amendments. They said that wasn’t enough.

And then they said that – in addition to that – then they got on the fact that – I repeat – as indicated in the New York Times editorial today that I was “mean” to them.

The only conclusion anyone can draw is that they’re looking for any excuse there is to deny these people the benefits that they should have.

Next week, Republicans are going to go home. As I’ve indicated, let them explain to the people in their respective states how they did this for the process reasons.

These are people who are out of work through no fault of their own.

Nevada – I read a statement on the floor yesterday – a Republican, 54-years-old, worked all of his life. He lost his job. He can’t find a job. He’s been looking for jobs for months. And he said…he’s a lifelong Republican and he said it is absolutely wrong that the Republicans are demonizing people like him, saying that they lazy, they’re trying to benefit from a system that shouldn’t be helping them. And he said, “I’m being punished. They should be punished – they the Republicans – for not helping us.”

If they want to compromise, we’re happy to work with them.

I talked to Dean Heller today. He said he’s having meetings today to try to come up with some other way of moving forward on this.

We’ve moved in their direction but you can’t move in their direction enough because they have one goal in mind: they don’t believe in these extended benefits; we do.


Learn More:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.