|00:00:00||BILL, ALL THEY COULD FIND ROOM FOR WAS A FIVE-WEEK EXTENSION.|
|00:00:05||NOW, I'VE GOT TO ADMIT, COMING FROM THE STATE OF OREGON WITH THE SECOND HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THE NATION WITH 2,500 PEOPLE A WEEK EXHAUSTING THEIR BENEFITS, THAT THAT'S BETTER THAN NOTHING.|
|00:00:16||THOSE FAMILIES NOW KNOW THAT THROUGH CHRISTMAS AND THE HOLIDAYS, THEY WON'T BE TOTALLY CUT OFF.|
|00:00:21||BUT IT CREATES AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF UNCERTAINTY FOR THOSE FAMILIES COME THE END OF JANUARY.|
|00:00:26||WE CAN'T DO BETTER THAN THAT?|
|00:00:28||WE CAN GIVE OURSELVES HERE A COLA FOR 12 MONTHS THAT FAR EXCEEDS ANY BENEFITS THEY CAN EVER EXPECT UNDER UNEMPLOYMENT, BUT SOMEHOW WE CAN'T GIVE THEM THE CERTAINTY OF ANOTHER 26 WEEKS?|
|00:00:39||I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT.|
|00:00:40||I REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT POSITION IN THIS HOUSE.|
|00:00:43||WHY ARE WE SO STINGY WHEN IT COMES TO WORKING PEOPLE AND SO GENEROUS WHEN IT COMES TO INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY?|
|00:00:51||MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH WHO FUNDS OUR CAMPAIGNS.|
|00:00:56||THIS PROVISION OF THIS BILL IS ESSENTIAL, BUT IT IS NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH.|
|00:01:01||AND CONGRESS WILL BE IMMEDIATELY CONFRONTED UPON RETURNING IN EARLY JANUARY WITH THE ISSUE OF FURTHER EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, AND HOPEFULLY ADOPTING AN EFFECTIVE ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE.|
|00:01:13||WE SIMPLY NEED TO PUT AMERICA BACK TO WORK.|
|00:01:15||WE HAVE A TRADE POLICY EXPORTING JOBS.|
|00:01:17||WE'RE BEING TOLD TRICKLE DOWN WILL HELP STIMULATE THE ECONOMY AND PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK.|
|00:01:22||MY PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF BEING TRICKLED ON.|
|00:01:25||THEY NEED FEDERAL INVESTMENT AND SOMETHING THAT PUTS THEM BACK TO WORK.|
|00:01:28||WE'RE HOLDING BACK MONEY FROM THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND.|
|00:01:31||THAT WOULD PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK.|
|00:01:32||WE CAN'T GET A BILL PASSED TO DEAL WITH THE FOREST PROBLEM BACK IN THE WEST WHICH WOULD PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK IN THE WOODS.|
|00:01:39||WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT.|
|00:01:41||BUT WE HAVE TIME FOR SOME OTHER SPECIAL SHENANIGANS AROUND HERE.|
|00:01:45||MR. SPEAKER, I WILL SUPPORT THE LEGISLATION BUT I BEMOAN THE FACT CONGRESS SEES FIT TO TAKE CARE OF ITSELF FIRST, ITS CONTRIBUTORS SECOND, AND THE WORKING PEOPLE OF AMERICA LAST IN A VERY, VERY CURSORY WAY THAT'S ONLY TEMPORARY.|
|00:02:02||I WOULD YIELD.|
|00:02:04||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN YIELDS BACK.|
|00:02:06||THE GENTLEMAN FROM GEORGIA.|
|00:02:07||MR. LINDER: I RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.|
|00:02:09||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN RESERVES THE BALANCE OF HIS TIME.|
|00:02:11||THE GENTLELADY FROM NEW YORK.|
|00:02:12||MS. SLAUGHTER: HIGH I INQUIRE HOW MUCH TIME WE HAVE LEFT?|
|00:02:14||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLELADY FROM NEW YORK HAS SIX MINUTES.|
|00:02:18||SLAUGHTER: I YIELD THREE MINUTES TO THE GENTLEMAN FROM OREGON, MR.|
|00:02:23||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN|
Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding time to me.
Mr. Speaker, the Republican leadership has taken care of their colleagues in the Congress. There is going to be a tidy COLA made available to Members of Congress that will far exceed 6 months' worth of unemployment benefits for most Americans. In this bill, all they could find room for was a 5-week extension.
I have to admit, coming from the State of Oregon, with the second-highest unemployment rate in the Nation, with 2,500 people a week exhausting their benefits, that that is better than nothing. Those families now know that through Christmas and the holidays they will not be totally cut off. However, it creates an incredible amount of uncertainty for those families come the end of January. [Page: H8762] We cannot do better than that? We can give ourselves a COLA for 12 months that far exceeds any benefits they can ever expect under unemployment, but somehow we cannot give them the certainty of another 26 weeks? I do not understand that. I really do not understand that position in this House. Why are we so stingy when it comes to working people, and so generous when it comes to insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry? It might have something to do with who funds our campaigns.
This provision of this bill is essential, but it is nowhere near enough. Congress will be immediately confronted upon returning in early January with the issue of further extending unemployment benefits and, hopefully, adopting an effective economic stimulus package.
We simply need to put America back to work. We have a trade policy that is exporting jobs, and we are being told that trickle-down will help stimulate the economy and put people back to work; but my people are tired of being trickled on. They need Federal investment. We need something that puts them back to work.
We are holding back money from the Highway Trust Fund. That will put people back to work. We cannot get a bill passed to deal with the forest fire projects which could put people back to work in the woods. We do not have time for that, but we do have time for some other special shenanigans around here.
Mr. Speaker, I will support the legislation; but I bemoan the fact that Congress sees fit to take care of itself first, its contributors second, and the working people of America last in a very, very, very cursory way that is only temporary.