Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis
Remarks by Secretary Hilda L. Solis
Press Conference with Senator Reid
Unemployment Insurance Extension
June 30, 2010
Thank you Senator Reid for your leadership and for standing with the millions of working families who continue to need our help through this historic economic recession.
Already, one million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits because of political posturing in the Senate.
That number will increase to over 3 million by the end of July.
This recession isn’t these families’ fault.
These aren’t the families that designed credit default swaps, or made multi-million dollar stock trades with someone else’s money.
But this recession is hitting them hard, and they deserve our help.
As Secretary of Labor, I’ve traveled to places represented by Democrats, and Republicans, and I’ve met with people in all of those places who have lost their jobs.
There isn’t a difference in their experiences, in their struggles, or in their needs.
And they all want their elected officials to put politics aside, and do what’s right.
Helping the victims of this recession is the right thing to do, but helping them also helps the small businesses in their neighborhoods.
It means they’ve got money in their pocket for the local grocery store, the local gas station, and the local hardware store.
It means more money in local economies, and more job creation.
A bill in the Senate that includes this vital extension … as well as important funding for the summer youth employment initiative … has been blocked for weeks.
The House is expected to vote soon on a UI extension and Senator Reid is doing everything he can to get another vote in the Senate.
These votes will give us a clear picture as to who is on the side of those hit hardest by the recession.
And, as I mentioned earlier, well over a million individuals have stopped receiving benefits outright.
And that number will rise to over 3 million by the end of July.
Every week, hundreds of thousands of families who rely on the unemployment benefits they’ve earned to put food on the table and to pay for their children’s healthcare needs are losing their unemployment benefits.
But too many in the Senate are simply unwilling to stand up for those who have lost their jobs because of this recession.
For many households with an unemployed worker, these benefits are the only thing that allows them to keep making their mortgage payments and keeping their electricity turned on.
These Americans are counting on their elected Representatives and Senators to stand with them and allow an expedient up-or-down vote on this extension.
The clock is ticking.
Those Americans who have lost their jobs – through no fault of their own – are counting on Senate to put partisanship aside and pass this important legislation, and pass it soon.