Lee Calls On Leadership To Vote On Jobless Benefits

Video from press conference of Reps. Barbara Lee and Bobby Scott Wednesday unveiling their bill extending unemployment benefits for first tier filers. (Note: the footage is wobbly, but eventually stabilizes.)

As reported last week, Rep. Barbara Lee reintroduced her bill Wednesday hoping to add 14 weeks of unemployment insurance for the long-term out-of-work.

Rep. Barbara Lee introduced the bill
during Congress’ lame-duck session
last December.

 “Millions of workers across the nation, many of whom live in my district, are experiencing a true state of emergency,” said Lee. “Our bill would ensure these long-term unemployed workers get the long overdue assistance they need to support their families, make ends meet and contribute to our economy,”

The main obstacle to passage is likely reticence from the new Republican majority in Congress. Lee called on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to put the bill up for a floor vote sooner than later. “The Republican leadership has given a lot of lip service to creating jobs for our working class, but they have yet to even produce a plan,” she said. “Now they have a chance to support emergency relief to millions of working class people who can contribute to our economy as they fight to support their families.”

Support for reinstituting benefits to first tier recipients, who may have been jobless for nearly two years, is not expected from the new House leadership. Last August, Boehner called unemployment insurance “not a jobs plan” and a proposal by the Obama administration Wednesday to defer interest on state funding for unemployment aid is also being met with opposition. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told the Los Angeles Times, “There will be no bailout of the states.”


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