We can do both, Speaker Boehner

Speaker Boehner just told reporters that instead of voting on a bill to #RenewUI, we should be working to create better jobs in America and “higher wages.”

“If we are going to consider dealing with unemployment – emergency unemployment – we have to do something about creating better jobs in America, higher wages in America.”

We can do both.

192 House Democrats have signed a discharge petition to force a vote to #RenewUI for the more than 2 million long-term jobless Americans who have lost their lifeline to make ends meet as a result of the GOP leadership’s intransigence.  A handful of House Republicans understand the real need to renew UI and have asked Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor to bring a bill to the floor to extend unemployment benefits.

“For the folks I represent, this is an important issue. I would hope that we take some action,” said Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican from Nevada, whose state jobless rate of 8.7% was the second-highest in the nation in January, behind Rhode Island’s. The national unemployment rate was 6.7% in February, according to the Labor Department.

Mr. Heck was one of seven GOP lawmakers to sign a letter in December urging Mr. Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) to consider a temporary extension of emergency jobless benefits, first passed in June 2008 and renewed repeatedly until they lapsed in late December. [3/25]

195 Democrats have signed a discharge petition to force a vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) – a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.  25 million hard working Americans would see a pay raise with a minimum wage increase – millions would be lifted out of poverty, many of them children.

If Speaker Boehner really wants to raise wages for American workers – he can bring the Fair Minimum Wage Act to the floor for a vote today.

And while we are talking about discharge petitions – today House Democrats filed a discharge petition to force a vote on H.R. 15, a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill with 200 cosponsors, including 3 Republicans.

It is time for an immigration system that honors our history and our values, with reform that creates jobs, empowers small business, fuels innovation, raises wages, reduces the deficit, and energizes our economy.

Just yesterday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a study detailing H.R. 15’s massive deficit reduction impact.  According to the CBO, the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the House will reduce the deficit by $900 billion over the next two decades – including $200 billion in the first decade alone.

When comprehensive immigration reform does so much for the fiscal, economic, and moral health of our nation, it’s no wonder that the American people are calling on Speaker Boehner to stop making excuses and stop standing in the way.