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  • Renew Unemployment Benefits

    by Representative Linda T. Sánchez

    Posted on 2014-01-15

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    SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to [[Page H238]] lend a voice to the 1.5 million workers who have lost their Federal unemployment benefits.

    Imagine a choice before you where you had to either put food on the table or have a roof over your head. This is the decision that millions of workers, including 53,000 people in L.A. County alone, will face, all because my colleagues on the other side of the aisle refused to extend unemployment insurance benefits.

    Last week, I had an opportunity to talk personally with constituents who are affected by the loss of these benefits. Their message for me to send to my colleagues was clear: We are not lazy or unmotivated. We want to work. But as we continue to navigate a tough labor market, we need these benefits in order to provide for our families and to pay for the gas and phone bills that help us talk to potential employers and get ourselves to interviews.

    Mr. Speaker, unemployment benefits are not handouts. These are benefits workers have earned. They paid into the system to help them precisely during times like this.

    It is time to stop disrespecting these people who are continuing to try to find work by mischaracterizing them as lazy or somehow fat and happy living on unemployment benefits.

    One of my constituents, in particular, Anthony, wanted me to make crystal clear the fact that he resents those who say that is he not trying hard enough to find a job. He has a bachelor's degree in finance from Cal State Long Beach and has worked as an accountant in the private sector.

    In his 47 years on Earth, he has never once been unemployed until now, and he has been trying everything he can to find work, but hasn't found anything yet.

    He told me that every morning he gets up and goes to a work center to search the online listings, and that the 20 computers at this particular work center are always full, and every single person at one of those computers is actively looking for work.

    Mr. Speaker, unemployment insurance benefits are a lifeline to families who are struggling. Please don't cut off this critical lifeline. Give unemployment insurance the vote that it deserves.


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