A picture of Representative Richard M. Nolan
Richard N.
Democrat MN 8

About Rep. Richard
  • Progressive Caucus: Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    by Representative Richard M. Nolan

    Posted on 2014-01-15

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    NOLAN. Thank you, Mr. Pocan. I want to commend you for the tremendous service that you have been providing, bringing to the attention the important issues that relate to the working men and women in this country.



    In particular, I want to address the failure to renew emergency unemployment benefits. Clearly, it is unconscionable. It is unforgivable.

    As you and our other colleagues have pointed out, it is bad economics, and the characterization of these people as somehow being scofflaws that don't want to work is the cruelest and most unfair part of all of this.

    We need to remind ourselves that, in order to be eligible for unemployment compensation, you have to have been a worker. You have to have gone to work every day, and you could not have left your job voluntarily. You could not have been removed from your job for fault.

    You were a good worker who, by virtue of facts that you had no control over, lost your job, but you were someone who was willing to go to work every day.

    In the 32 years in my little hiatus between when I served and when I came back, I engaged all that in business, and I employed anywhere from 25 to 50 people at all times.

    We paid unemployment insurance because we know, in business, the cycles that flow, and from time to time, layoffs are necessary, and I was always happy to pay that unemployment insurance, knowing that these good people who showed up for work for me every day had some protection in the event of circumstances that were beyond my control and their control.

    To deny these benefits is so unconscionable. It is such bad public policy. It is so unforgivable.

    We are leaving 4.9 million people out there, and I remind everyone again, workers, that they are going to lose the benefits that they earned, that they insured themselves against, together with their fellow workers and employers.

    {time} 1830 Here they are. Maybe they are going to lose their home because maybe they [[Page H466]] can't make their mortgage payments. They may be thrown into a diabetic coma because they can't buy their medicine, have to watch their children go hungry because they can't afford to buy food. That is not us. That is not America. We know better than that.

    So I implore my fellow colleagues and our Speaker to bring this unemployment benefit extension before the House so that we can have a vote on it. Because I have no doubt that with the heart and the goodwill that is in this House, we will extend them. We will extend those benefits because we know for a fact that the simple truth is, there is only one job for every three people that are out there, and until we put together the pro-growth, pro-jobs economy that we need to put everybody back to work, we need to provide those who are in need and who have earned the benefits and are workers in our society the benefits so that they can take care of their families and their needs. If the Speaker will allow this to come up for a vote, I predict there is enough goodwill here among both Democrats and Republicans that we will pass this.

    So, Mr. Pocan, thank you for bringing this to the attention of the Congress.

    Mr. Speaker, I hope you are watching. Let us have a vote on this. We will pass it. We will do the right thing.

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