While our economy slowly tries to recover from years of Republican mismanagement, more than a million people are being denied unemployment benefits by Republicans in the Senate. These workers, who are unemployed through no fault of their own, are being held hostage by legislators more interested in making political points than helping people.
Democrats have been pushing for weeks to extend benefits for 1.7 million workers whose payments are about to expire. The extension would continue benefits through the end of November.
The actions by Senate Republicans are just plain cruel. Holding back benefits while ridiculing those in need is worse than adding insult to injury. Contrary to statements we've heard from some Republican opponents, these workers are not lazy or undeserving, and they do not enjoy being unemployed.
Ask your friend who's without a job -- it's about restoring their livelihood and dignity. All they need is a little push from their government and encouragement from their fellow Americans so they can get back on their feet.
Democrats in Congress are as outraged as our constituents so we won't stop fighting to get this legislation and other important programs passed. We will continue working with President Obama to get our economy growing again and creating jobs.
The legislation passed so far, including last year's stimulus bill and this year's historic expansion of healthcare, have lead to signs of progress: The Recovery Act alone has created or saved up to 3.6 million jobs (as recently reported by the President's Council of Economic Advisors ) and has also provided more than $160 billion in tax cuts to American families and small businesses. Our investments in road construction jobs, clean energy, broadband have not only put Americans back to work, but also laid the foundation for continued competitiveness and success.
Surely, more needs to be done to create and expand opportunities for our children and families. Yet we cannot move forward by doing what Republicans suggest and turning their backs on Americans who need help. That would not only be unsound economic policy. It's just plain mean and un-American.
Follow Rep. Charles Rangel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cbrangel