February 04, 2014

Senator Warren, Democratic Senators Advocate for Unemployment Insurance Extension on Senate Floor

Senator Booker (D-NJ) Delivers Maiden Speech, Begins Colloquy to Urge Extension Passage

Video of Senator Warren's Remarks Available Here

Washington, DC – As part of a colloquy on the floor of the Senate led by Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) maiden speech on Monday evening, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called on Congress to pass an extension of unemployment insurance. She advocated for the 60,000 people in Massachusetts and 1.6 million Americans across the country who lost their unemployment insurance benefits when Republicans filibustered multiple attempts to pass an extension and cut off many families’ only means of paying the rent or putting food on the table.

“Unemployment insurance is a critical lifeline for people who are trying their hardest and need a little help – a recognition that Wall Street and Washington caused the financial crisis, but Main Street is still paying the price,” said Senator Warren. “And there’s the rub:  Republicans line up to protect billions in tax breaks and subsidies for big corporations with armies of lobbyists, but they can’t find a way to help struggling families trying get back on their feet.”

The senator read a letter she received from Terry, a 41 year old resident of Gardner who was suddenly let go from her job last year, leaving her unemployed for the first time since she started working at age 15. “I know I’m one of 1.3 million faces, but I’m a face from near your home,” she wrote. “I’m a face that never thought I’d be in this situation.  I’m a face that needs the help of my government’s services that I have paid into for many, many years.  I’m a face that has done everything I’m supposed to  but I feel like I’ve fallen aside and no one sees me. I’m not an abuser of the system.  I’m someone who really needs my government to be there for me now. Please see me.”

Senator Warren also addressed the misguided comments of some Republicans that unemployment insurance is bad for struggling families and that unemployment insurance keeps individuals from finding work. “This is an insult to hard working people across this country – people who are doing their best and can’t find a job. This is an insult to people like Terry,” she said.

Senator Warren held a roundtable in Worcester last month to discuss the expiration of unemployment insurance and her continued fight to help families struggling to find work.