Transcript of Pelosi Remarks at Press Event After Republicans Try to Silence the Voices of Americans Who Lost Unemployment Insurance


Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Members of the House Democratic Caucus held a press event today in the wake of House Republicans’ refusal to allow the stories of Americans severely affected by the loss of this vital lifeline to be heard.  Leader Pelosi and House Democrats called on Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership to end their callous indifference to the nearly 3 million individuals who have lost UI since December 28 and to #RenewUI.  Below are the Leader’s opening and closing remarks:

Leader Pelosi’s Opening Remarks

“Good afternoon, everyone.  Last week, when we sent out the notice for this meeting today, it was thought that we would be there to listen to the voices of those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, to listen to women, to veterans, to heads of families who are hoping that Congress would pass the extension of unemployment insurance.  The bill has already passed the Senate in a bipartisan way.

“We invited you to a room in the Rayburn Building.  This morning, the Republican majority told us that, for the purpose of talking about unemployment insurance extension, we no longer had access to the room.  Perhaps they thought we would cancel the meeting.  Instead, we have taken to the steps of the Capitol.

[Applause]

“The purpose of that meeting was to listen – to listen to these voices, voices to whom the Republicans have turned a deaf ear.  They are invisible to the Republicans.  The Republicans are indifferent to their needs.  But we want to give voice to them.  We thought it would be in the Rayburn Building.  It is now on the steps of the Capitol.  And I want to thank the National Employment Law Project and the Philadelphia Unemployment Project for helping us to bring folks together.  It is now my privilege to introduce one of our very special guests, Helene Laurusavage, to tell her story.”

Leader Pelosi’s Closing Remarks

“The voices that we have heard this afternoon represent hundreds of thousands, indeed, millions of Americans who are in a similar situation.  Unfortunately, our Republican colleagues in the Congress are in denial about this situation.  When I asked them: ‘Why don’t you give us a vote?  Because the votes are there to pass the extension of unemployment benefits…’

[Applause]

“…They say: ‘These people are not looking for work.  So we’re not going to give them this extension.’  They are in denial.  In fact, they don’t even want to hear the truth.  That’s why they kicked us out of the Rayburn [Building] and wouldn’t let these stories be told, in the people’s House on Capitol Hill.

“But, as we have noticed, we’ve come to the steps of the Capitol so that the world can hear the stories – not only their own stories, but representative of so many others.  They have spoken so eloquently.  I want to thank them.  I want to thank all of my colleagues who have joined us here and are helping to co-sponsor the legislation that would give us a vote.

“That’s all we’re asking for.  Mr. Speaker: give us a vote.  Give us a vote.  Give us a vote.  Thank you all very much.”

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