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Peter D.
Democrat OR 4

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  • Congressional Black Caucus

    by Representative Peter A. DeFazio

    Posted on 2014-01-08

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    DeFAZIO. I thank the gentlelady.

    Mr. Speaker, on the 50th anniversary, the Republicans just got it a little bit wrong. The war on poverty, they thought it was the war for poverty as they are dismantling one by one the most important programs that help lift and keep people out of poverty, like extended unemployment insurance.

    Let me read a few subjects here.

    Roseburg, Oregon. A 61-year-old woman working since she was 14: I don't know if it is my age, but I am having great difficulty finding a job.

    A 62-year-old woman from Coos Bay, Oregon, went back to her former employer and said: ``Are you hiring?'' He said: ``You can't be serious. Not at this time of year. Come back in the spring.'' Unfortunately, she can't make it until spring.

    A Eugene veteran. A two-income family, but she lost her job: Since I haven't been able to find a job, we are close to losing our house and declaring bankruptcy. I am actively seeking employment every day.

    Then we go to Springfield, Oregon, my hometown. We have a woman whose son is in the Army. She says: I can't find a job. I have been looking. I have to give notice to my landlord and become homeless.

    Then Corvallis, Oregon. A 54-year-old man. He had been working his whole life since 17. In his last job, he was there for 13 years, but he can't find a job and he is going to be forced into homelessness.

    Then, finally, another gentleman from Springfield, Oregon: $330 a week I received wasn't much, but it helped keep me from having to go to food banks and asking for help. We went just before Christmas. The food bank had run out of food. I have to decide now whether to buy medicine or food or heat my house.

    That is the legacy of the cruel cuts of these Republicans. These are people, hardworking Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and they want to work. If they fall into poverty, they lose their home, they lose their cell service, their telephone, their car. How are they ever going to get a job? We need to help them now before they fall even more off the cliff. Extend unemployment benefits today as a celebration that we, as the American people, do not tolerate poverty in this country.

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