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

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

Just a little bit ago, I went out on the Senate floor and told the heartbreaking stories of some of those who’ve lost their unemployment benefits in my state and who are really distraught.

These are people who are losing their homes. They’re applying for food stamps for the very first time, never thinking that that might happen to them. They are people whose lives are really coming apart at the seams. They’re people who, never in a million years, believe that they were going to have to ask for help. They don’t want a handout. They don’t want to be a burden. But they’ve paid taxes all their lives and they have no where else to turn right now.

They are now looking to us in D.C. and are dumbfounded by what they see, and that is because what they see is the old Republican playbook once again. It’s the same playbook, in fact, that we saw for 16 days in October. And it’s the same one that I saw first hand 21 times when I was simply trying to get to go to a budget conference. They say no for as long as they can. They play politics for as long as they can. They hold out and they obstruct for as long as they can until the public pressure from angry Americans finally reaches a fever pitch and when it is far too late, hopefully, they come to their senses.

Well, I have to say it’s getting far too late for every single American who has now lost their unemployment benefits.

And now, because Republicans have said no to every reasonable offer we’ve made, we’re heading home to face the very people whose stories I just talked about.

Now, I normally don’t come here and give advice to my friends on the other side of the aisle, but I would certainly suggest when they go home and talk to their constituents next week, that they do not use the same excuses we have been hearing from them around.

I hope they don’t go home and stare into the eyes of someone who’d just have to apply for food stamps and explain that they can’t get help until Obamacare is destroyed. I hope they don’t tell those who are about to lose their homes that they are not going to get any help unless we agree to cut child care credits for American kids. And I especially hope that they don’t go home and make arguments about procedures and amendments and arcane rules that only people here in Washington D.C. pay any attention to as an excuse for walking away from 1.4 million Americans at a time when all they want is a result.

What I do hope is that they are coming face-to-face with these families and that will bring them back here with a changed tone, and they will feel the pressures that Americans are giving us and hear that public outcry and help us pass these unemployment extensions that are such an important lifeline for so many Americans today.


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