Progressive Caucus: Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnershipby Representative Mark Pocan
Posted on 2014-01-15
POCAN. Mr. Speaker, it is an honor to be here on behalf of the
Progressive Caucus and lead this Special Order hour.
Last week, we were here as a Progressive Caucus with a number of our members talking about the need to extend unemployment benefits for the 1.3 million Americans that lost them at the end of December. We filled the entire hour with people talking about the need to extend the benefits and real personal stories of people who have been affected by us in this House not extending those benefits.
It looked for a while last week like the Senate might do the right thing in a bipartisan way and extend those benefits. Unfortunately, this week, we saw the Republicans in the Senate refuse to go along and extend benefits to needy Americans, people who are without work, simply trying to pay their rent, pay for their groceries, and pay for things like gas so they can go and get a job. It has been a very unfortunate week.
Yet in this House, we have tried time after time this week to get a vote so that we could get unemployment benefits extended for those 1.3 million Americans and the 72,000 Americans each and every week who are going to lose those benefits. Unfortunately, we have had no success. The leadership in this House has not allowed us to have that vote.
So we are here again today to talk about not only the need to extend unemployment benefits but also to talk about a fast track deal that is going through this House, a fast track deal on trade that many of us see as a fast track to losing even more jobs and having an even more detrimental effect on the very same people we are talking about right now who are becoming more and more long-term unemployed.
I am joined by a number of my colleagues today. I would like to right off the bat yield to a colleague of mine who has served in the California Legislature and now proudly serves the Long Beach area here in Congress, my good friend and colleague from California, Representative Alan Lowenthal.