Congressional Black Caucusby Representative Tammy Duckworth
Posted on 2014-01-08
DUCKWORTH. I thank the gentlelady.
Mr. Speaker, Lynn Richards of Elgin, Illinois, a town in Illinois that is well known for manufacturing everything from Elgin watches all of the way through to the Elgin street sweeper, still in use today, Lynn Richards of Elgin, Illinois, needs her unemployment insurance extended. In April, she lost her manufacturing job of 3 years. She and her husband kept their family afloat with the help of unemployment insurance. And now, 10 months later, she is pregnant with her second child. She said recently: I have been working since I was 20 years old. I have never had this much trouble getting a job in my life. I have applied to 200 places, and I have gotten less than 10 calls and just a couple of interviews. No employer wants to hire someone who is pregnant.
Lynn is just one of 80,000 Illinoisans who have lost their unemployment insurance. I understand what these families are facing. When I was a teenager, my father, a combat veteran, was in his mid- fifties and had worked since he had enlisted in the Marine Corps at 16. He lost his job. My dad did everything he could to find work, but was turned down again and again. My mother took in sewing, and I took a minimum-wage job to help make ends meet. Eventually my dad got a job, but Federal assistance programs were there to help keep my family afloat. Many Americans want to find work, but simply cannot. Punishing these families by taking away unemployment benefits is a terrible mistake.
The absence of unemployment insurance is jeopardizing the economic progress that we are making. By removing the benefits to 80,000 Illinois families, we are taking more than $25 million out of our economy every week. Let's put partisanship aside and extend unemployment insurance now for our families and our businesses.
I thank the gentlelady from California again for her leadership on this issue.