A picture of Senator Jeff Merkley
Jeff M.
Democrat OR

About Sen. Jeff
  • Cloture Motion

    by Senator Jeff Merkley

    Posted on 2014-01-07

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    MERKLEY. Madam President, I wish to make a few very brief comments, and the first is this: In the budget agreement that was hammered out right before we left for the holidays, a provision was inserted by Congressman Ryan that changed the COLA details for our veterans. This provision is outrageous. It is changing the retirement deal in the middle of a person's service or, for many of our veterans, even after they have retired--between the time they have retired and the time they reach age 62. In the coming days of this week, I hope this body can come together and reverse this provision which unfairly changes the terms of retirement for our veterans. Our veterans stood up for us as a nation when they were overseas, and we must stand up for them here at home.

    Secondly, I would like to express hope for the bipartisan spirit that led to an agreement to debate the bill regarding restoring emergency unemployment. I had eight townhalls over the weekend, and I can tell you that it strikes people as fundamentally unfair that States with high unemployment, such as my home State of Oregon--that these weeks of emergency unemployment, which was a deal hammered out in a bipartisan fashion under a Republican President, President Bush, should be set asunder.

    Indeed, on December 28, 18,000 Oregon families got a lump of coal in their stockings, and in the course of this coming year another 58,000 Oregon families will be thrown out in the cold, if you will, due to the failure to reauthorize this program. Indeed, the failure to reauthorize it not only affects directly those families who need a longer bridge to the next job because of the high unemployment levels, but it also affects the economy, destroying an estimated 4,000 jobs. Our citizens want to see us create jobs, not destroy jobs.

    So I hope the bipartisan spirit that led to our agreeing to debate restoring the emergency unemployment program will lead to our actually reauthorizing the emergency unemployment program.

    Madam President, I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.

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